ADAM

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Before

I’m Adam; I was born in 1985 in the outskirts of Essex England. I remember very little from my early childhood but am told often by my mum that I was a very happy boy with plenty of energy and a smile always on my face, like any other boy of a young age back in those days without computer games I was happy playing in the garden and climbing trees with the occasional accident.

I have a 3 year younger brother named Benjamin, although we weren’t particuly close and always getting at each other, an event later in life would give us a bond that I believe can never be broken, but I’ll get to that later.

My mother turning 60 next month is and always has been a very loving lady, she did well to hide her pain and put on a happy face, I think much for her children’s benefit. I always called her a hippy because of her dress sense, there’s nothing she wouldn’t attempt in life, just like me she can eat all and everything and is always willing to try new foods, I later found out that she tried weed once and fell down some stairs at a friend’s party, that aside she has always been the rule enforcer and made the little things count, for example no resting elbows on the dinner table, no TV until your homework is done.

My father, also a loving man but lost in his work, was the managing director of one of the biggest cable manufacturing companies in the world, he would fly an uncountable number of times per month missing out on my childhood and leaving my mum to take care of the kids and do the house work. My dad had never admitted until recently that his approach to taking care of us was perhaps done wrong. Although I do truly believe that what he did at the time was what he believed to be right! When he returned from business trips he would shower us with presents, clothing, DVD’s, games… you name it we had it, we were both spoiled and had it all. He on the other hand would let us break the rules within reason, and because of this I felt closer and happier with him.

Although I have uncles, aunts and cousins and although I saw them every so often for Christmas gatherings and such, I saw less and less as time went on, now I can’t really remember the last time I saw any of them.

I lived in a very large house in the middle of nowhere, my dad provided for us well with a half an acre garden, computer systems, cool clothing and pretty much anything I could stick on a Christmas list.

Nothing of interest happened in my primary school, I used to sneak into the class room on lunch break and steal class mates football stickers but that ended fast once I was caught and confronted, in general I remember being popular and happy, also being the second fastest runner in my class and perhaps third fastest in my school. I had few troubles with the principle but that was for generally stupid behavior.

In 1996 I remember the first day of secondary school being particularly nerve racking sitting on the grass lonely with no one from my primary school around me, I was sent to an all boy school against my will for the reason it was one of the best schools in the region, I couldn’t care less, I felt female interaction would have been an important part of growing up but my cries where unheard and my parents decided for me… I’ve never forgiven them.

The first year went smoothly, I found my click and was fairly happy. Returning for the second year after the summer holidays I had hit puberty and had very bad acne, my friends came back with an interest in sport and girls; I had no interest in sport and had no girls where I lived, so these friends slowly moved to the more popular crowd leaving me, the ’geek’ behind. As the following years played out I became known as the rich kid who would have daddy drive him to school in his Ferrari to show off, that was not the case my dad loved his car, and so he should, he worked fucking hard to afford it, driving it any chance he got. I was oblivious to know of my parents troubles at that time. Back in school all the other kids where given a weekly allowance to buy their lunch food, I went with a packed lunch and even though I loved the thought my mum put in to making it, it just made me more of an outcast. So I decided I needed money, as my dad was bringing back copies of all the latest games and music from china I decided to become a pirate, selling each disk for five pounds soon made me money enough to eat at school and got me one step up the popularity ladder. By this time I can remember hearing my parents fighting more often, only at night, once we had both gone to bed. Although I don’t remember what was said I remember hearing a lot of shouting from both parents followed by teacup hitting the wall and smashing, my mum in tears and a door slam. My dad came in to my room and said ‘I’m sorry you had to hear that son, it will all be ok’. But everything wasn’t ok I was shy, lonely and angry, being bullied weekly and unheard at home. I remember one particular incident where I had been sold a shitty mix tape instead of a new album, I approached the kid who sold it and demanded my two pounds back, he refused so I took his mobile phone, the following day I was pushed into a class room by his older brother and his friends, managing to escape I found the biggest lad in our form and asked him to protect me, within minutes at least twenty pupils from the form below where following me with the intention of beating me down, I felt scared and afraid… but the bell rang and I survived. From that day on I was very much scared to stand up for myself. However deciding to step my game up I found the world of porn on the internet, I’m sure I can sell a lot of this at an all boy school I was thinking, and so I did, it wasn’t long before I was in the vice principals office explaining where I had found the content and why I thought it was ok to sell, as scared as I was I didn’t care about the punishment, but reality hit when I was escorted off the school property and was forced to tell my mum… I cried pretty much all the way home.

My brother following 3 years behind attended the same school, he was later expelled and attended a school closer to home where his behavior started to change, he became aggressive and very upset, my mums attention focused mainly on him, his outbursts and how to cope.

It’s now the year 2000, I’m now in college studying advanced ICT, college was laid back, nobody really cared who you where or where you came from, we were becoming adults and coming into our own. I traveled to my cousins one weekend and came back a completely different person, my clothes shifted from Nike tracksuits to baggy jeans, hoodies and black finger nails, I changed the color of my hair weekly, anything from red, green to purple, id found a new me, with this look I was much more able to express myself, although in the long run it only exiled me further. I remember thinking it was a good idea to bleach my hair blonde and then die it red… it only went fucking bright pink though and gave me a lot of looks walking down the high street, at that time I really had no concern how I was perceived, if anything I liked the attention.

A few months into the second year of college and on our lunch break I was in a car park round back of the local super market, my mate had lit a joint, at this time I was smoking and drinking but had never experienced drugs, he passed me the joint I took one toke and exhaled through my nose, I leaned back against a sign post and after the initial rush had worn off I was in a state of happiness.. I’ve since grown to hate weed as it sends me into a paranoid state or worse… panic attacks, I’ve not touched it in since. Throughout the year I continued to drink and smoke weed on Thursdays and weekends. Later that year I remember my parents asking me if I thought they should get divorced, at the time not really understanding the reasoning behind there issues I replied ‘yes’, thinking mainly for myself, I wanted out of that environment.

My dad seemed to spend his time back in England up north with his best mate and so I took every opportunity to travel with him when I could, I had freedom, alcohol, girls and new friends, life was looking up. Meanwhile my mum was left with the troubles of my brother.

After the second year, finishing college, my mum decided to move further down south closer to her family and my father up north to Harrogate, I of course followed my dad for all the wrong reasons. I carry a certain amount of guilt now as I feel perhaps I had made the wrong decision, my mum didn’t deserve all those years on her own and I can never give that time back. My parents officially got divorced in 2004.

It’s now 2003 I live In Harrogate with my cousin tom until we find a house to move into, we had at least ten friends round every weekend with both our dads letting us run riot, we drank regurly but my dad always kept an eye on me, I was happy and content I was enjoying life and forgetting my worries. A few months down the line we had moved into a smaller house we still drank on weekends but I was limited to seven friends round at any given time, we smoked weed without my father’s knowledge, I remember vividly something he had told me years back ‘if I ever find you taking drugs you’ll be out of the house’, I kept it quiet for years to come.

One new year’s eve a friend suggested we buy a gram of cocaine each as had tried it before and said it was amazing, my room was a loft conversion on the third floor, it was cut off from the rest of the house and was basically like my own small apartment I could do whatever I want and never be found out. Later that night most of my friends decided to go out and have a walk my brother included, a fight broke out with a neighbor across the road, my brother was involved and laid the guy out with one punch, after returning home within 30 minutes the police had showed up checking everybody’s knuckles for bruising one by one, my brother spent a night in the cells and later went to court expecting to spend time in juvee for aggravated assault, with the money my dad earnt he got an exceptional criminal lawyer and he ended up doing several hundred hours of community service.

Summer soon came and with it new friends arrived, I remember sitting on tom’s patio directly opposite was a beautiful girl 2 years younger than me, a popular girl, funny and very attractive, her name was Nealie. I’m not sure how it happened, it was a blur of drugs and alcohol, but we woke up together the following day and from then on where an item. She was my first serious girlfriend, she treated me well and never asked for much in return… being my first relationship and first sexual partner it was all new to me, although I smoked weed I never entertained the idea of taking ecstasy, MDMA or any other drugs available, she used these as and when she felt like it. We had several arguments all instigated by myself revolving around her drug abuse, she only did it on weekends but I wouldn’t let it happen at my house, I had my rules and my way, it’s funny how the tables turned as obviously I grew to be the addict later in life and I very much regret the way I treated her. I feel very much hypocritical given my life style now. I’ve never had the chance to say ‘I’m sorry’ and because of this I carry a lot of guilt. After a year we eventually broke up, the following evening I slept with another girl, when this got back to my ex I realized there was no repairing so I isolated, I realized I’d lost someone worth keeping in my life and my drug abuse began to spiral out of control and with it came depression.

2004, I’m now 18, I’m not working and my father can see I’m going nowhere in my life and so he suggested I travel to china and study a semester of Chinese, my dad’s a clever man, too smart for his own good sometimes. He realized the potential of speaking the Chinese language and how it could benefit me. The next thing I know I’m living in Shenzhen china for the next few months with a window of opportunity in front of me. Tom also came with me with the intention to learn Chinese, it wasn’t long before we found the local bar street and where drinking daily, I never missed class; even without sleep I would arrive on time. I had my 18th birthday in china in a local bar with my new found friends. A few days following, and I remember this like it was yesterday, I was sitting outside my usual bar on the second step with my glass of jack and coke to the left of me, cigarette in the right hand, and I’ve no idea why but I looked up to see two people walking past, my attention was quickly drawn to the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She briefly glanced at me and as our eyes met I felt something special, an urge, an overwhelming… something, I just knew I had to meet her. She was wearing a grey hoodie, hood up and a green skirt, a little tom boy-ish but so cute and beautiful.

My cousin, tom, later dragged me into her bar, I refused entering several times as I was just too nervous to introduce myself, but I finally relented. Her name was Yuki, and she was just amazing, funny, smart, and a party animal. Tom now realizing I was focusing all my time and attention on her, he could see I had an interest, he did warn me she already had a boyfriend and a son but I wasn’t fazed, I just needed her in my presence.

Yuki is a complicated character, and at the time I never knew of her past, she was a heavy drinker daily, but that kind of comes with the job of running your own bar. She had a lot of emotional issues but never spoke of them, most nights ended with her crying and me searching for answers.

It was at this time that I met her best friend and her best friend’s boyfriend Andy, who is also from England. He’s a fair bit older than me but looked out for me from that day on like a father. A few days later and Andy turned up to the bar off his head, he pulled me into the bathroom and offered me what he referred to as ‘K’ I’d never taken anything other than weed and coke and was already intoxicated, thinking fuck it I tried it and remember vaguely exiting the bathroom in large steps trying to control my balance while time slowed down to almost a stand still, it was an experience I’ll never forget. We then jumped in a taxi and headed down town to meet Andy’s friends. I was now heading down town every night to party, later finding out I was partying hard with local mafia. The feeling of being accepted was incredible, Tom and I where the only white people of our age that I knew of to be accepted into the Chinese mafia community, we had drugs, we had woman, we had respect and face, there was nothing we couldn’t do. You see in Asian movies how the mafia is in single room disco where ladies line up and you pick your girl, sniff drugs off plates where the waiters are handing out straws, but you never really believe that it actually happens in real life, but I can assure you… it does. I had now become everything I thought I wanted to be, everything I thought I was missing.

After the semester finished I returned to England, I hate life back in the UK, apart from seeing my friends and family I had nothing to do. I didn’t know who I wanted to be and I didn’t know what job to search for. After my dad pushing me to do something I went to the job center had an interview and just had to wait on feedback. A couple of lousy jobs later I found myself working for blockbuster videos, taking only cocaine and alcohol on the weekends. That routine continued for about a year.

August 2005, I woke up to what I thought would be just another day, I hadn’t even got down stairs to make my cup of tea, I heard a knocking on the door I stumbled down stairs to see my dad answer. 3 young girls where at the door saying they had knocked on every house on the way up the hill, which must have been at least 10, asking if they knew a boy with a red motor bike… he’s had an accident on the corner they said. My dad asks me to go check saying I can’t believe its ben, I didn’t have a thought in my head that said it was my brother, I just wanted to stick my nose in. I jogged down the road in my father’s slippers and over the horizon I can see red plastics and debris covering the road, a black car sideways on with a smashed side window and huge dent. There were several people at the scene, an ambulance that had literally just arrived and a paramedic attending to someone on the road. As I got closer I could hear an indescribable noise, a low pitched moan coming from so deep inside, his mouth didn’t even move.

Ben was lying there in what can only be described as indescribable pain, there was very little movement and that moan… I’ll never forget that moan. Across the street was bens passenger Gary, who had flown off the bike bounced off the windscreen and landed the far side of the car, his jar was in pieces and the blood was streaming from his mouth… I’ll never forget the first thing he said to me, with tears running down his face, is ben ok, how’s ben, his only interest was ben. I made a phone call ’Oli… accident… Ben… come now’. Within seconds it felt, Oli and pat arrived I tried to hold it together but I ran and just jump hold of Oli…. Now this lad is almost 7 foot tall, with my hands around his neck he’s still walking carrying my body weight. I let go, I turned to my left and there was my dad with his hands on his head pacing in circles, I guess in shock. The paramedic got ben into the ambulance before they had a chance to close the door I rattled off one quick question ‘will he be ok’, ‘it’s not looking good’ he replied… it’s not looking good, are you fucking kidding me, why didn’t he just lie!? I followed in the second ambulance and waited in A&E for hours. I was finally allowed to see ben in ICU, he was in a coma.

A month on and I had been visiting frequently, we finally got the phone call, he was awake. We rushed to the hospital and he had moved to another ward to be monitored closely. Now I wouldn’t call him awake he was on so much morphine and barely opened his eyes. There was a fan blowing next to his bed, I sat next to him before leaving and said I love you mate is there anything I can get for you? ‘Yeah mate, get me some fucking socks its cold on this mountain’ I couldn’t help but laugh, his sense of humor mixed with the morphine made for an interesting cocktail of conversation.

His entire left side is now plated with rods and screws. Over the coming weeks he knocked out a nurse having her relieved of duty for a week and discussed the possibility of getting fish and chips delivered. My brother was on the mend.

After my brother’s recovery I was given the choice to go back to china for further education, I jumped at the chance and before I knew it was back in the environment I missed so much.

Tom had never come back to the UK he lived in china with his dad, when I returned however I found tom had moved in with a Chinese family and they offered to take me in also. As with most Chinese families they all lived under one roof, the boyfriend and girlfriend, her brother and sister and there friend, it was a full family with regular visits from the parents and uncles. I soon found out one of the older brothers of the family was high up in the ranks of Shenzhen police, this explained why the guy I was staying with, Ricky, was given so much respect and face. We partied more and more often sleeping all day and up all night, K and ecstasy where plenty and in every private room I entered. One particular party I remember was entering a room filled with smoke after being shown a seat next to Ricky I soon found myself smoking meth with the local police, my most surreal experience to date. I loved this so called family, and it wasn’t for drugs, it was for the fullness, the feeling of being complete again, the feeling of waking up and having dinner on the table, the feeling of having a father figure, someone I could turn to and ask for help who was on the same level as me.

A few years on and I got a job teaching English to try and support my lifestyle along with some money I had inherited from my Nan. My money was going down fast as was my body weight. Tom and Ricky decided to open a bar, I saw an opportunity to invest and I did… very big mistake. The bar didn’t last long due to local competition and Ricky’s gambling habits. Around this time crack cocaine was flooding the streets and on the up, some of my closer friends where using it recreationally but not to excess, I offcourse went with the flow.

I still saw Yuki at every opportunity I could, I knew I had deep feelings for her but I never did tell her I was in love with her. She had her life and I had mine. We partied together when we could, she stayed at mine occasionally and I stayed at hers, I think she always knew I was spiraling out of control but as she was very much involved in the same circle she was doing the same.

I’ve now quit my job, I didn’t like teaching I was too nervous for big classes and the boss was an arsehole. I had recently moved apartment and had the dealer living in. I hadn’t heard from Yuki in weeks and her phone was off, after weeks of worry Andy eventually told me she was in prison, he knew from day one but kept it quiet. I was distraught, from this incident on the following months where a blur of alcohol and drugs, it all came to an end when I realized I was out of funds and eating less than one meal a day. Out of desperation I called my mum, asking for a flight back home, my mum hated the fact I was living in china so I knew I could count on her.

In 2006 I escaped china, returning to England looking malnourished, my parents probably always knew what I was doing just not to the extent I was doing it, it was left unmentioned, no questions, they were just happy I had returned. Deciding a typical 9-5 wasn’t going to satisfy me I bought half an ounce of cocaine from an old friend, I made 100% profit on each gram sold and my rates were better than other product available at the time. During this time I decided to do something to get my weight back on, I joined the local gym with a friend and I was soon introduced into the quick fix… steroids. I purchased some online and started gaining weight at an amazing speed. I wasn’t happy with being a dealer but I liked the rush, I liked being known and most of all I loved the money. I didn’t realize my dad had clocked me and was keeping tabs, every time I was out he would raid my stash and take mental notes of the amount of money and the amount of product remaining. Every time I returned he question where I’d been. I was now getting high on my own product as well as buying ’K’ twice a week and my partner in crime, Oli, was cleaning me of my own product. We had just picked up an ounce and got to my room, just as we finished weighing the product in to gram bags my dad yelled for me, we knew, this was it, we had been caught. Me and Oli walked to the kitchen and sat by my dad, what are you selling he asked, I made up some bullshit story about a legal high, I don’t know if he believed me or not but he wanted the coke gone. That night I called my ex and blew it all with people I didn’t know, the consequences of this where owing dealers from Essex a large sum of money… I paid it.

In March of 2008 my dad and his best friend decided on a trip to Bangkok Thailand along with myself and my cousin. Now I had been traveling to Thailand since I was 15/16 years of age; I knew Bangkok well and had met my dad’s Thai girlfriend several times. Her name is Oui. I know little about her background but our family was broken and she bought to me two stepbrothers and although she could never replace my mum she did a damn good job at taking care of us. I have a lot of love and respect for Oui not only does she put up with my dad’s high strung personality but she has always listened with open ears and offered me a shoulder to cry on. She later moved to England to be with my father and gave birth to my stepsister Rhianna, she is coming up to 5 years old this year. This Thailand trip however didn’t go smoothly, I had recently had a motorbike accident, scratching up all of my back and leaving me with four stitches in my elbow. me being me I decided to self-medicate and purchased several strips of valium at a local pharmacy, after a heavy night drinking and popping valiums I decided to search for ketamine and meth, I called a contact who had hooked me up previously that holiday and was given the go ahead. I jumped on a motor bike taxi but before I could make it 5 minutes down the road I was waved down by the local police, the taxi was asked to leave and I was asked to empty my pockets, I didn’t stop to think I had half a strip of valiums still on me. Before I knew it I was in the local police station facing one year in prison, and a mandatory urine test. What shocked me is that whatever drugs show up in your urine is extended prison time. I was petrified knowing I had ketamine, meth, ecstasy, a whole cocktail of drugs in my system. 6.30 In the morning and I called my dad begging for help, he called a friend who knew a friend that could help, within an hour I was released. I’ll never forget that day, the tears streaming down my dad’s face, I felt so much shame, and hated myself for what I had put him through. From that day on I took extra care hiding my drug abuse.

We flew back to England and our relationship was very rocky to say the least. November came I remember I was up in my room one day with Oil and my dad called from down stairs ’you’ve got a phone call he said, who is it I yelled back... ‘Yuki’ he said, I swear I’ve never ran down those stairs so fast. I can’t remember the phone call exactly but that wasn’t important, will you come back’ she said. I didn’t need to think twice. I got a ticket with help from my dad and his air miles and as soon as I could. Before I knew it I had arrived in china and was on my way to stay at tom’s apartment.

The situation was in no way healthy, I arrived to find him in a hotel style apartment no bigger than this room with a glass bathroom you could see in and the floor littered with crack cocaine paraphernalia. I don’t know what had happened in the time I was gone but he was in a bad place. He was telling me how he was buying and selling using cars but a Chinese guy had run off with his car and money. I thought nothing of it this type of shit it happens every day in china; it was no surprise to me. The guy next door was a local DJ and heavy on crystal meth on the weekends, this soon became our daily routine, mixing two incredibly strong stimulants, I couldn’t have been more stupid. I got a call one day after being out with Yuki, I was asked to help back at the apartment, and I walked in to find Ricky, his brother Edward and tom questioning a Chinese guy. I knew immediately Ricky had pulled some strings and found the guy who ran off with tom’s money, he had been kidnapped and now I was an accessory in holding him for ransom. To cut a long story short, we continued our stupidity and not realizing we hadn’t locked the door this guy jumped at the opportunity to escape, we ran out after him but he jumped over the railing falling one story onto some stairs, got up and continued to run with a limp. It’s at this point I thought to myself ’right fuck this I’ve had enough’, called Yuki and moved in with her for a month. After my visa expired I returned to the UK to live temporarily down south with my mum and take on a personal trainers degree over a three month private course, at this time I was very much missing the woman I love and the country that had become my home, I was taking more steroids than before and ’K’ and xanax more frequently. I got the usual daily call off Yuki only this time to find out she was pregnant, usually this would be happy news, I was ecstatic at first but to find out the baby’s heart beat was irregular and she needed an abortion coursed me to feel a pain I hadn’t felt before, what was worse I couldn’t be by her side when she needed me the most, I felt guilty and hopeless.

When I finished my training I made my way back to china and back to live with Yuki, we had moved apartments closer to tom as she felt I needed to be around my friends, but she couldn’t have been more wrong my drug abuse rocketed with the local crowd and I soon found myself out of control.

Over the past 4 years I have done nothing but upset my relationship with some of my closer friends, argue with Yuki on a weekly basis regarding my drug abuse and worry my mum sick with problems no mother should have to deal with. In the past two months I have managed to open a bar with tom and invest in real estate with Yuki’s brother, my constant abuse has put heavy strain on not only my relationship but also on how I attend and work in my bar. Given the stress I’ve been under, I made it in my mind acceptable to continue using, anything between 3-5 grams daily, putting myself in debt and struggling to pay rent, my worries mixed with ketamine kept me awake every night, to counter this I’ve been taking between 4-6mg of Xanax and/or a couple of caps of GHB. I can count 3 times in the past month where I’ve had to literally drag myself into a cold shower as I felt my body shutting down. My therapist would refer to this as panic attacks but I’ve never been properly diagnosed. I now wake up on average 3 times a night to go to the bathroom. When not using ketamine I feel tired and lethargic, I find it hard to operate in general. My therapist advised I look into rehab, at the mention of Darra I had no second thoughts and was lucky enough to have financial support to get me here. It is with no doubt if I had continued this stupidity that I would probably not of seen the year 2015.

I can’t begin to explain what I’ve seen throughout my years in china and although I have some regrets I wouldn’t change what I’ve done in my life purely because I have seen and been in situations that can only be seen on movies, that can only be imagined, china broadened my perspective on life and what’s available, I became a drug addict in the process but I stand by the fact that I believe everything up to this point was worth it. It will only make me stronger than I was.Room 16, on e of the better rooms he reassures himself, at least in comparison to his three week stay in room 1 on arrival, where the rules ensured you remained perched on the upper deck all hours of the day, where if you were’t permitted to go “outside” to the adjacent room you could not. Room 1 where you where permitted to shower and brush your teeth just once daily, where you were not allowed to buy food, being kept on a strict diet of rice with a helping of rice, and what would be considered a small portion of vegetables at even a five star restaurant. although he does miss the presence of one of the older bosses, a man he recognizes from at least ten years prior. Remembered for his outrageous drug fulled parties, where mafia gathered for any occasion and the waitresses handed out black plates and straws for the flowing supply of free ketamine. the now older looking man was a year in on an eight to ten year stretch for trafficking eighteen kilos of a popular Thailand amphetamine “yabba”. His memory didnt serve him well, but he was still the pleasant and humorous man he had been before.

Back to the task at hand, the clock reads 26 Celsius, it’ll hit 31 not long before lunch he bets himself. He works the quilt to the exact length, width and depth, folding precisely to size, to fit neatly and tightly into storage hole nine of fifteen. Running in circles is allowed on the upper deck for the next fifteen minutes. While the majority of inmates choose to pace in circles below, yawning and taking turns to use the one toilet at floor level. How he wishes he could run, as much as the circles make him dizzy its his knees and the irregular pains that prevent him from joining them.

The prisoners are already grouped to odd and even on arrival, now 6:55am and odd numbers are called, he has but just a few minutes to brush his teeth and wash in freezing cold water before returning to the main room where he has an hour to waste before breakfast at ten past eight. On a good day he will play cards, read a book or perhaps some light exercise but he hasnt slept well last night. Having the same nightmare hes had for the past five months and counting. So he retreats to the corner of the upper deck, lowers his head between his knees and tries for another forty five minutes kip, unlikely though given the rowdiness of the waking prisoners around him. Being called for breakfast he drags himself up and wonders outside taking his pick of a single Chinese mantou (Chinese bread bun), provided to him for free by the prison system, theirs no spoiling in futian detention center, gone are the days of nanshan center were he would be given two pieces of bread. He is however one of the luckier ones having his wife send him money monthly ensures he can buy a small variety of goods for breakfast. Today though wont be any different, he takes place in the queue for two sachets of black sesame, two sachets of oatmeal mix and a small carton of milk. Once finished he gathers the bosses bowls and spoons and washes them in preparation for lunch.

After breakfast is a manic time, too much hustle and bustle to clean and get everything in place before the first sitting. 8:45am, the boss yells and every one jumps to the upper deck were they sit in rows of three, cross legged with hands behind their backs for forty five minutes, possibly longer if the guard on duty woke up on the wrong side of the bed that day. The reason for sitting cross legged its said is too lessen the chance of fighting among cell mates, several days he can endure, but come weeks and months and the pain makes it difficult to go about his routine let alone fight. During the forty five minutes the prison rules are recited, these are too be memorized within the first seven days, failure to do so will result in a two hour working penalty per night ensuring you dont sleep until they are remembered. On Mondays and Thursdays the room officer may check in supplying a few razors and nail clippers for those who want to clean them selves up. Being the only foreigner in the room hes taken on the task of teaching a few words of English daily, probably the highlight of his day, as its particularly amusing when teaching British slang and how the word fuck can be used to emphasize practically any phrase. Ten minutes pass, hes had enough and sits himself back down. Songs are sung in group or by individuals to pass the time, if not then its silence until the officer relieves them of sitting over the intercom.

Another hour with little to do, he decides to read his book, if he lets his mind wonder at this time of day he’ll be entertaining suicide before lunch, making his day seem to last forever while driving himself slowly insane with every passing minute until late evening when he will eventually tire himself out for several hours of rough but rehabilitating sleep. 10:30am and lunch is served, today is cabbage, every day is cabbage, a reasonable portion with rice, nothing more, nothing less. The prison system is far too cheap to provide any meat or proteins it seems. occasionally there may be the odd lump of flesh that still has animal fur spouting from the top layers of thick fat, he would give it to the cell mate that sits next to him, in any case today there is none. After being rushed to finish his meal, he once again collects the bosses dishes for washing later that afternoon, he wipes down the make shift table and gets a minute to wash himself down before moving back to the sleeping quarter for a short mandatory nap at around 11:00am. He wont rest today though, his mind is swimming again in thoughts of his wife and family.

He must of dozed off for a while that fucking clap startled him awake. Precisely 1:35pm, he once again folds and places his quilt in storage and heads out side once the door has been unlocked by the workers on the outside. The workers outside the cells are also prisoners but with a remaining sentence of less than three months and a good clean record while incarcerated, they enjoy being able to roam relatively free in the court yard and around the other cells in exchange for serving food to other prisoners and other small jobs the officers may ask them to handle. He wishes he could apply but hes still awaiting his sentence and a single foreign worker who isn’t fluent in Chinese is already down on his chances of acceptance. With the dishes washed and ready for dinner he’ll treat himself to an apple and orange if there’s time to spare before the second sitting at 2:30pm. In the forty five minutes that follow any knew member of the community will be asked to stand and introduce themselves followed by singing three songs of their choice. They bide there time but eventually give in an sing, every one gives in and sings, which at least lightens the mood in the room. He was lucky on his arrival he squeezed by with singing one song and that was by choice to create a reasonable first impression. 3:15pm another twenty minutes or so of running, today he attempts it but in 31 Celsius of heat and his aching knees he only manages a miserable five minutes. Then yet another hour to waste.

At 4:00pm the prisoners are called and given the chance to prepare any extra dish’s to go with there dinner. The typical dish would be noodles with processed sausage, spicy cucumber in soy sauce or his personal favorite, sliced raw onion in vinegar. Hes never been particularly good at preparing food so he calls upon two cell mates to help him daily in exchange for a small share of the finished dish. Dinner is called at 4:30pm, it will be one of several alternating dishes, rice with pumpkin, rice with carrot or turnip or rice with an odd Chinese vegetable. It very rarely varies beyond that and today not only is the helping of vegetable very small but so is the rice, he wont go hungry though as he had noodles already prepared for him. He always finishes before everyone else. Once the bosses put down their bowls he cleans the table and washes the dishes for the 3rd time that day. Being the dishwasher has its privileges, the main being able to shower and wash dirty clothes a good ten minutes before odd or even is called. Its not a pleasant time to be washing in cold water, cleaning dirty clothes by hand and trying to soap yourself while attempting to wash your hair with 20 other men all attempting the same task. Today hes lucky enough to finish the choir before the mayhem commences. Now with nothing to do until 7:00pm he tries to read his book but his mind wonders and he catches himself again gazing, trance like into nothingness.

As it turns 7:00pm yet another mandatory sitting, this time lasting only thirty minutes to watch the news quietly, and slightly more relaxed as cross legged isn’t necessary. At 7:30pm hes relieved from sitting and amuses himself playing cards until snack time at around 8:00pm. When he has fruit he will eat an apple or banana but today he will just enjoy a carton of sour milk, rationing is everything. Medicine follows shortly after, 60mg of Citalopram, four pills of sleepers (the usual is two but there not looking), two antibiotic capsules, two aspirin and two ibuprofen for his knees and rotting teeth. Evens are called for a quick rinse before bed, he waits patiently till last as the boss allows him to brush his teeth for a second time and wash with soap, among the few other privileged cell mates. Back in the sleeping quarter for 9:00pm and the final sitting of the day as he waits anxiously for the officer on shift to do his rounds and permit them to make their beds. The big hand strikes 9:30pm, hes uncomfortable stuffed int he far corner, lying side wards trying to avoid the inevitable face kicking from the sleeping spasms of the prisoner on his right. Not once today did the sun touch his skin, not once did he have a sensible conversation, nothing besides dick jokes and questions of how many woman hes slept with. His eyes glazed, he lies senseless his mind crumbling from the loud Chinese that surround him. Something like silence eventually arrives around midnight as his cell mates fall asleep. He drifts off to the whirring of the ceiling fan only to return to his nightmare from the night before!

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