Does Big J Know?

—Big Jay—

This is an essay Eric submitted for an ADX program

Eric is in a step-down unit of the ADX.

It was determined it would be unconstitutional to release someone from ADX-level-deprivation to the streets, so the ADX created a special unit for people within a year of their release. They are supposed to be able to earn privileges to help them adjust to the outside world. They have specialized caseworkers that help them know what kind of programming they’re eligible for, they can get phone calls, they can get snacks, they can earn a lot of things.

Eric has not been OFFERED and programming. Through other prisoners, Eric found out about a program (all by himself) in which he could write essays for treats and submit them to psych.

(As a reward for this essay, Eric requested “sugary cereal pls.” He also wrote before beginning: “Do you accept free-verse ‘poems’? Let’s find out! 🙂

Big Jay

Does Big Jay know how much those brief, star gazing night walks meant? Does Big Jay know that watching him do tarot readings in the library was inspiring? He didn’t give 2 shits that some found that weird as shit…his confidence oozed out and it was infectious…people respond to radical self-belief. Does he know how much it meant to me that when I asked him to read “Shrill”, he actually read it? Then we spoke about it for 3 days after …what patriarchy meant, how we both were actively benefitting from it… what shame meant, what love meant… Amazing, vulnerable conversations that are so rare in prison.

Does Big Jay know that when he stood up for me in the religious group, I felt like I had a true friend. Some people have real aversions to little dudes who speak their mind, especially when those views are contrary to ‘group-think’ …Big Jay respected it and instead of bowing to social norms, spoke up for me… not giving a shit about his own social standing, he stood by me MULTIPLE times …using his clout to empower my voice.

Does Big Jay know how safe he made me feel? Altho murders at Mediums are very rare, getting your face kicked off is very common. I annoyed a lot of people, a lot of people felt I was a burden or a race traitor… at 5’6″, 145 lbs, being different can be very dangerous… Big Jay is massive. 6’4″, 260, he honestly looks and sounds like high-bred English nobility… He never used his massive size (or massive intellect) to bully or belittle people, but he did use it as a shield, especially for me. He was both a direct and indirect protector… there was never the slightest doubt that Jay would tolerate even the slightest threat to my safety. He didn’t rush in, he’d let me work out my beefs and settle them however I needed to… but he was always beside me (literally) and on more than one occasion put out what could’ve been a nasty fire.

Big man… big knowledge… big muscles and big heart… big compassion and big brain… big loyalty… the day he was released was one of the happiest and saddest of my life. One of a kind… a true great friend. Big Jerry B forever.-EK

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