New Hope VI – Rest

I don’t think he cared if he got in a bit of trouble; but he was not going to leave me in the cage while I waited to be returned to Ad Seg (the Hole.) He had decided he was going to do it himself.

We walked the long hallway until we reached the Hole’s door. We both entered the multi-colored door system and continued together the whole way. No one raised an eyebrow.

Once inside an officer took possession of me from behind. I didn’t pay attention to who it was, for it usually didn’t matter. But when he spoke, his voice sounded familiar.

As the Seed Planter exited the doors, the officer holding my arm from behind said, “C’mon Torres, I’m taking you to the yard.” I wasn’t sure why, but I didn’t protest as I was taken to the zoo cages. Once secured, I was able to look back at the officer, and I recognized him immediately. He was an ex-boss of mine, and once a love interest of the young lady who had made the allegations that sent me to Ad Seg.

“I can’t believe this. What are you doing in the Hole, Torres?” he asked, clearly unable to believe his eyes.

“You didn’t hear? She didn’t tell you?” Of course he knew of whom I spoke.

“No, dude,” he said in a very Keanu Reeves way (you know, from the movie Breakpoint.)

I asked him if he wanted to hear the whole story. He did, so I explained it in detail. All he could do was shake his head in disbelief. When we were through talking he cuffed me back up and took me out of the Zoo Cage to escort me back to my cell.

I guess he was thinking about the situation, because before he left my door he said, “Well, Torres, at least you have found some rest in the situation.”

“I sure have,” I said as he walked away.

I didn’t immediately realize his use of the word “rest” instead of “peace.” His choice of word was interesting, and as I pondered it I lay down on my bunk, taking off my shoes and jumpsuit.

As soon as my head hit the mattress, I fell into a two-hour-long deep sleep. I was exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before.

It was rest, indeed. Thank you, Father.

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New Hope V – A Sign

It was time. I now shuffled, fully chained, into the hearing room. The commissioner sat behind two large computer screens in the far left of the room. I wasn’t nervous. My heart was beating normally. My breathing was steady.

I was ready.

The commissioner spoke in a straightforward way, without rabbit trails or irrelevant topics. But in his voice I heard caring and father-like counsel. He took the time to explain how I could show commissioners like him that I deserved freedom. His counsel felt genuine and sincere. Although he was referring to my future BPH, he kept pointing to the empty chair next to me, saying, “Listen to your attorney. He will guide you around your claim of innocence.”

As he continued to point to the empty chair, I knew it was not empty, for Christ Himself was there with me. I was accompanied by the Great Advocate, locked and loaded with grace.

I left the hearing with two things: first, a new hope, and second, a good memory of a BPH to replace my old one. Father had been answering my prayer from the night before, but He wasn’t done yet.

I only had to wait for about 30 minutes in the holding tank for Seed Planter to pick me up. After he thanked the BPH officer, he quickly took me back to the van. During the ride, which was much slower than the drive there, he asked me about the hearing. I explained it to him in full. I held nothing back; and in response he let out an airy whistle, followed by, “God is in control, T. God is in control.”

“He sure is,” I answered, accompanied by a big smile.

The three-mile drive felt extra-long, leaving more time for another subject.

“So when are they going to release you from Ad Seg (the Hole?)” he asked.

I caught him up on the latest I had been told by my investigating officer – how the young lady who had accused me of wanting to hurt her male co-worker did not want me back due to her embarrassment. He wasn’t too happy to hear about the raw deal I was given, but that’s when I broke in and reminded him, “God is in control.”

“He sure is!” he replied.

The topic then turned to the young lady. He asked how I would feel if I ran into her again. I assured him I wasn’t mad, and had no ill-feelings toward her. If given the opportunity, I would greet her with a warm, “Hello.”

The Seed Planter thought about that for a second, then said, “You never know, T. You never know.”

We finally made it back to the transportation loading dock. As I stepped from the van I noticed a state golf cart that looked very familiar. What were the odds I would run into my accuser just after talking about her?

Once I was processed through all the moving grill-gates and doors, the Seed Planter escorted me into the long hallway. Just as we entered, I saw my accuser standing there, her back to us, speaking to her co-worker. The Seed Planter shot me a quick glance. I took that as permission to speak.

“Hello,” I said, using her name. “How are you?”

She recognized my voice and turned to face me. Her eyes squeezed shut, her teeth appeared, and she gave me the phoniest smile I had seen in a long time. The Seed Planter chuckled as we walked past her. I didn’t know how to interpret her response. I was confused.

When far enough away, the Seed Planter turned to me and said, “T, take the fact that you saw her today – on THIS day – as a sign. Take it as a sign.”

I smiled and nodded at him. I was content, and took it as a sign.

 

New Hope IV – Backup

I prayed continually during my transport. The three-mile van ride took no time. The van approached and slowly entered a multi-fenced security sally port. I was now at the building where I would have my BPH (Board of Parole Hearing.)

As I stepped off the van, chains and all, the sally port officer recognized me. “Good to see you, Torres,” he said as he checked my paperwork. “Field trip from Ad Seg (the Hole) to BPH, huh?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “It’s going to be a good day.”

Both the Seed Planter (my transportation officer) and the Sally Port officer escorted me into the BPH building. I wasn’t three steps inside when the BPH officer recognized me, also. “Whaaaaatt? It’s Big T!” The two escorting officers laughed and both gave me a smile. I felt like I was at some sort of reunion.

The BPH officer took out his keys and unlocked the door to the holding tank. I shuffled in and he closed the door behind me. I sat down on the bench and began to silently pray. As I prayed I overheard the Seed Planter tell the BPH officer to give him a call when I was ready to be picked up.

“Don’t call the other transport team. Call me.” The BPH office said he would.

As soon as the Seed Planter left the building, the BPH officer opened the holding-tank door. “Hey, Big T,” he said. “C’mon, follow me.” I thought he was taking me to see the Commissioner, but I was wrong. We walked right by the hearing room and into the client-lawyer interview room.

I stopped before going in. “I don’t have a lawyer,” I said, making sure I wasn’t going to get into trouble.

Pausing between every word, he responded, “Yes. You. Do.” Then he winked at me. There sure was a lot of winking going on that day. Maybe everyone’s allergies were giving them trouble. “Plus,” he continued, “the chairs are plush. They will save your behind compared to that dead-wood bench.” He closed the door and returned to his chair.

The interview room was small. Three crimson-colored chairs and one small desk filled up the room. I sat directly across from two chairs on the other side of the desk, admiring their color and thinking about what the officer said, “Yes. You. Do.” Did I really have a lawyer, or did he have me confused with someone else?

Taking me by surprise, a laugh bubbled out of me. How could I be such a dunce? Of course I had a Lawyer! The color of the chairs reminded me that my Lawyer was Jesus Christ, my Lord. He was my Advocate; my Intercessor; my Counselor. Immediately I began to talk to the empty crimson chair as if I spoke to Christ Himself. Call me crazy, but it sure felt real to me. It seemed as if He sat directly in front of me. This client-Lawyer interview was real.

I was now ready to enter the BPH room. I was not alone.

I had a Backup.

 

New Hope III – Chained Up

The rattle of the chains dragging on the floor was the signal that they were coming for me. As the sound echoed in the hallway, my heart began to race; not from fear or worry, but excitement.

I stood in the cage, eyeing my accompanying NFL player/guard as he talked to the other officers nearby. He too must have heard the dragging chains because he turned back to look. The transportation team was still out of sight, but he knew who they were. The look in his eyes reminded me of the look you see sometimes when a person sees a long-lost friend.

“What’s up, bro??!!” my guard said to one of the transportation officers. “What are you doing on the transport team? I thought you were on C?” he continued, clearly glad to see him.

“Just a one-time fluke, bro,” was the reply. I thought I recognized the voice, but I could not place it. As he talked the chains got louder. Just as the transport officer was coming into view, my NFL player/guard stepped forward and blocked my view. Then I heard the slapping, and hand-bumping. I think I even heard an explosion. I assumed the two long-lost “bros” were performing a very manly, and very complicated, handshake.

With little fanfare my guard took a step back and pointed at me. Sounding like a game-show host, he said, “Guess who you are transporting?!”

The chain-dragging bro took a step forward and looked into the cage. With a great, deep caveman voice, accompanied by a huge smile, he almost yelled, “It’s T!”

My eyes could not believe what they were seeing. It was the Seed-Planting officer – the subject of an earlier blog entitled “The Seed”! I returned the greeting by using the first letter of his last name.

As the first NFL player/officer walked away, he turned to the “Seed Planter” and winked. No words followed his wink, but the Seed Planter evidently understood by answering, “You got it.” I wasn’t sure what the message was, but the Seed Planter knew.

He looked at me, then at the chains he dragged behind. Disappointment flashed all over his face. He stood there for a short second considering his options. “Sorry, T,” he told me in a barely audible voice. “I don’t think you belong in these chains, but…..” he gestured at the sergeant who stood by, “….I have to.”

“Hey, no problem,” I said. “I’m no one special. Put those puppies on.” I stuck my hands out of the slot in the cage so he could begin the process.

As he shook his head slightly in protest, he chained me up. Inside, he knew I didn’t belong in chains.

Escorting me to the van, the only noise was the sound of my chains.

I was all chained up.

 

New Hope II – Angels Among Us

I was far too excited to sleep. The dread and burden were gone, and I was anxious for morning. My Board of Parole Hearing (BPH) consultation was scheduled for 8:30 and I couldn’t wait to get there.

I jumped straight out of bed at first light. I had myself and my cell in order within 30 minutes, so I sat on my bed to wait for the breakfast tray to arrive.  The Ad Seg (the Hole) officers were running a little late, so I began to read my Bible. As I read, a knock on my cell door startled me. I looked up and saw an officer the size of an NFL linebacker standing at my door wearing a big smile. I know this officer well, and he knows me. We are both true believers in Christ.

“Torres,” he said as he looked at the Santa Biblia I held in my hands. “I see you are powering up.” I smiled in agreement. “Hey, you know you are going out this morning, right?” Again I smiled and nodded. “You eat breakfast yet?”

“No,” I said as I put on my issued jumpsuit. “I guess they are running late.”

“I’ll be right back.” He moved quickly for an NFL-sized player. I continued to get ready. As I tied my jumpsuit, I looked up and said, “Thank you, Lord.” I wasn’t sure why I said it, but I knew the Lord had His hand in all of this. It just felt right to say it.

Minutes later the NFL player brought me a breakfast plate and a sack lunch that contained extra fruit. “How long you need?” he asked.

“Give me five,” I replied, holding up five fingers. “I’ll chow down fast.”

Ten minutes later he was back to pick me up. Once cuffed, my door opened and off we walked down the long hallway. As we continued to the transportation holding cage, the NFL player leaned down (he’s a lot taller than I am) and said to me that everything would be fine – to keep trusting God. I nodded my head to let him know I understood, and inside I repeated, “Thank you, Lord.”

Once I was secured inside the cage, which sat next to the transportation dock, the NFL player began to remove my cuffs. Just as he finished, as my back was still turned, he said, “Hey, Torres!” I turned to face him and as I did he gave me a friendly wink. That wink was a mouthful. It said, “I got you covered. I’m praying for you. You are not alone.”

I might have read too much into the wink, but it was my next thought that was even more “out there.” “Maybe,” I thought, “this NFL player/guard is really a heavenly angel disguised to care for me on the first part of this journey.”

I chuckled to myself as I remembered the verse, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Maybe he was an angel. Who knows?

 

New Hope I

As another night crept by, I could not sleep. My mind was on warp speed; not from worry or fear, but dread. I had been pushing it back for nearly two weeks, but this night – the night before the hearing – dread was front and center.

A few weeks before this, my counselor came to tell me that the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) had requested to see me for a “consultation hearing.” These hearings are normally conducted to help prepare inmates who are serving life sentences, like myself, for their parole hearing. Many years ago I had attended such a hearing and nothing about that encounter went well.

At the previous hearing (called a “Doc” hearing then) I felt like a child mistreated by a bully. The tongue-lashing I received left sad furrows in my memory. I walked away with less-than-zero hope. Battered, hopeless and defeated was how I was left. So since being informed I had another one coming, I kept remembering the first one. The dread I carried was heavy and exhausting.

Of course I prayed for relief, and I felt it during the daylight, but at night that dread robbed me of sleep. My mind was filled with images of psychotic Russian clowns, cavorting in a room of mirrors. The night of October 5th my mind was turbo-charged. I felt like I was nearing a breakdown.

So I prayed.

“Father, I trust You.” I clearly remember every word. “I know I’m not worried, or afraid, or anxious about tomorrow. I’m just dreading the process – the tongue-lashing I’m going to get. I’m not the person the state says I am. I’m not! Please Daddy, calm my mind and retake control of it. I trust You. I trust You. I trust You.”

With these words on my lips I tried once again to sleep. I lay there and tried and tried. Mr. Sandman was just not interested. But even in my wakefulness, my dread was gone, and my mind was filled with excitement. A newfound energy bubbled up inside of me, carrying away the heaviness.

Once the burden was gone I pictured a plant within my soul rooting itself into every fiber of my being. I felt renewed and refreshed; ready to face the next day. Mr. Sandman wasn’t there, but my Father was.

The battered, defeated, hopeless feeling was gone. It was entirely replaced with an energetic new hope.

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I felt like I was looking at sunshine; not just any sunshine, but that peaceful ray of morning light that first breaks, telling us the night is ending. Yes, it was that kind of sunshine that graced my eyes.

Editor Note: On August 18 2017 Adrian was placed in Administrative Segregation. He was transferred to Mule Creek State Prison on October 14th. These blogs were written during his time in Ad Seg. For more information click here.

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Send Adrian a letter or a book

Can you imagine arriving at a new prison and a few days later, receiving letters or paperback books from your friends?

Please mail a letter to Adrian and include a few stamps.  Adrian uses the stamps to respond to everyone who writes to him. He’s very grateful for the letters, and would like to thank each person who writes him or sends him a book.

Adrian G. Torres T30064
D17-C204-2 up
P.O. Box 409089
Ione, CA 95640

Adrian enjoys reading and was not able to take his books with him.  You can send a paperback book to Adrian from either Amazon or Barnes and Noble. The book must be a paperback.  If the book is a hardback it will be returned.

Can I send a used paperback book?
Yes, as long as the used paperback book is sent from a company and not an individual. If you are ordering through Amazon, the book must state “Fulfillment by Amazon” .  Otherwise the book will be returned.

The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
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