Last night I received an e-mailed notice that my brother had been moved from the jail at which he was being processed (before placement at his permanent assignment — possibly the Kentucky State Penitentiary) back to the Boone County jail. I was puzzled at first, but then Mrs. M reminded me that he has a pre-trial conference on some lesser charges that had been on the back burner during the murder trial. Obviously, he has to be around for that, so he’s back to where he spent most of the past four years.
I checked the jail listings and saw Mike’s current picture — he’s regrown his mustache and goatee, and he seems to have slimmed down since the trial. A little bit later, I went to bed.
As I lay there, I had the radio tuned to the campus station, as is my habit. A jazz number ended, and a more familiar song came on — Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried.”
When the chorus rolled in: “I turned 21 in prison, doing life without parole,” I couldn’t help it — my thoughts flashed again to that cell in Burlington, KY. Michael and I both left 21 in the rearview mirror a couple of decades ago, of course, but he’s going to spend the rest of his life paying for what he did — as is appropriate. All the same, he and I have the connection of our childhoods and the family we shared and he shattered. And I know I’ll think of him, when I hear the right song on the radio, or see the right picture or hear from a mutual friend on Facebook.
He’s doing life without parole — I may be as well, but I’ll try not to, most of the time.