Interviews With Inmates Of Hillsborough Prison
The day I sat in the courtroom, there were three or four white men with the same charges, but they let them pay out, maybe seven or eight hundred dollars. I was black. The man didn’t say nothing about no fees or charges. They gave me the maximum sentence. My skin color gave me away. I can base it down to that. I didn’t have the money, so I got to pull the time. It’s just as simple as that.
We are in a sea of color. Three thousand athletes from all over California are assembled at Drake Field on the UCLA campus for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics. Jimmy is the shortest player on our team, so I hold his hand as waves of athletic teams move about us. Joey holds my other hand. Michael, Eddie and Audie walk ahead of us, arm in arm, like the Three Musketeers. Pride and friendship are on parade.
As I trudge up the road from the bus stop, I pause to catch my breath as well as the view. Before me loom towering white cliffs; beneath are the lush fields and orchards of the moshav, and beyond them is the Sea of Galilee or the Kinneret, as it is called in Hebrew, “the violin.” The curving road is lined with small stone houses; I had been told that Elyah’s was the last hut, on the highest slope.
Characters in the novels of Anne Tyler are imprisoned by people, places, things, by the whole fabric of their past lives, but they dream — some of them — of escaping. Their means of escape is through other people. They envision in the other a life more like the one they want to lead, and their decisions to change are sudden.