1:48pm, August 6th, 2008
The village slowly becomes a vacant, lamp-posted space. The fiery Geneseo sun makes its rounds and is now returning to its place in the atmosphere. The never-ending sidewalk is my darkest enemy as I feel a tiny trickle of sweat run down my back — and that is when I see it: the tremendous crescent-shaped window of the Livingston County Jail penetrates into the deepest layer of my eyes. The window’s reflection of the setting sun acts as the window’s weaponry. I am convinced that the sun, like the inmates, should be serving a sentence for the bleached, splotchy eyesight I am experiencing. I look down at my small, white slip-on sneakers as I cross the street and smell smoke coming from a neighboring home. The sound of the brutal wind rustling through the leaves reminds me that the upcoming season will not see the insiders of the prison. These cells hold inmates like an oyster holds a pearl, firmly and protectively.
This half-mooned window brings back a memory of a summer camp punishment. In the camp director’s office, there was a small crescent-shaped window that anyone walking by could see into. If one peeked in, they could see the man in charge, a rolling chair, and which camper was being scolded. I had been one of the fortunate ones who had been spared the penitentiary-like experience, but some of my acquaintances hadn’t been so lucky. One of the boys from the rowdy grade above me was spending time in that swiveling chair like it was his job. I skipped past the clouded window just to see the same face swirling in the center of the white walls. His crimes usually consisted of using vulgar language, or singing M.I.A.’s Paper Planes and pointing his finger guns at people. I held tight onto my brown paper lunch bag thinking, “If I was ever in there, my mom would kill me.” The camper who was being held in the office could smell cotton candy being spun round and round, and although that’s what he was doing in his own little seat, he was off limits to any kind of treat. The Livingston County Jail currently cages 254 inmates, and the camp office only cages one. My 19-year-old self knows that the jail is a much worse place, but my 12-year-old self begs to differ.
Daria Epakchi was born in Manhattan, New York and now resides with her family in Long Island. She is a sophomore and a communications major.