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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Microstory 1809: World of Injustice

I was in prison for four months for a crime that I didn’t commit. That may not sound like very long, but it was more than enough to ruin my life. I could have stayed for one night, and it still would have been devastating. I’m not talking about being a person of interest, or even being arrested. I could have talked that off as a misunderstanding. No, a conviction, and one that was so highly publicized; that was something that I never came back from, even when they found the true culprit, and let me go. Because that was all they did; let me go, and let me fend for myself. I was out of the country when the murder happened. Yes, I knew her, and yes, we had had sex recently, but there is no way I could have done it. It took three months for the authorities to receive the proof! Countries don’t talk to other countries very nicely, especially not back then, or this all would have been resolved in a matter of hours. My alibi was caught on camera, it was completely ridiculous. Even after they received said footage, the police basically said to me, well, if you didn’t do it, then who did? as if it was my responsibility to do their job for them. It wasn’t until they reopened the investigation, and did finally locate him that they set me free. That is not how it works. You don’t keep someone locked up in case you never find the killer just because somebody has to go down for this. I worked really hard to keep my cool, and not become angry about it, because I didn’t want anything to stand in the way of my exit from that wretched place. I did well in the beginning. I remember being so happy as that gate opened, knowing that it meant freedom. I harbored no resentment—not yet. I didn’t know at the time how bad things were about to get...how much worse life would be on the outside, not just in some ways, but all ways.

I would come to find out that I was never exonerated. They literally just escorted me out of prison, and shut it behind me. According to law, I still belonged in there. None of the proper paperwork was filled out; nothing was done officially or correctly. There was a news story about it, with a clear picture of me walking away from the prison, but that was pretty much the only proof I had. The journalist who took that photo actually gave me a ride back to the city, because I didn’t have any other means of transport. My family had all disowned me, and decided to not exonerate me either. It was impossible to convince them that I didn’t get off on some kind of clerical error. I didn’t do it! Well, having sex out of wedlock was enough for them, so they weren’t hearing any of it. Getting a job wasn’t any easier. A background check showed that I was locked up, but didn’t show that I was released. I eventually realized that I needed to keep a copy of that news article on my person at all times. This would give me a few opportunities, but then a coworker would learn who I was, and that would make them uncomfortable. Maybe I didn’t commit the murder, but I was in prison, so I probably did a lot of crimes in there. I didn’t, the other convicts actually weren’t that bad, but no one believed me. There wasn’t an accurate paper trail. I’m surprised I wasn’t rearrested at some point. I guess the warrant was the one thing they did manage to get rid of. Prison was a terrible place, but at least they had to give me a cot. Now I had nothing. I was forced to live on the streets, which is where I die here today. I’m young in terms of years, having aged quickly due to malnutrition, and lack of medical care. I think I’m dying of exposure, specifically, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I die as I lived, trapped in a world of injustice.

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