December 6, 2021 by ConTextos

Freedom by Danny Martinez

Close your eyes and count to 10. Better yet, in my case, count to 8. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Now open your eyes and realize that you will never get those 8 seconds back.

I was never the top student in math class, but I always excelled. Algebra, Trigonometry, Geometry, and even Calculus are all classes I’ve taken and passed. One day life handed me a math exam of her own. I passed. All of my answers were right, with the exception of one. The question I got wrong was “What is freedom?” At the time I was puzzled. I thought freedom was more so a socially philosophical question and not a question to come up on a math exam. Either way, I took my time and wrote my answer down. Zero. You see, on average there are 365 days in a year. I have unfortunately wasted 8 years in jail for a crime I did not commit. Which in short answer form gave me the answer of 0. Out of those lonely 2,920 days, 0 days is the amount of days I should have spent in jail for something I did not do. Thus, I would be enjoying my freedom.

But again, my answer was marked incorrect, so I double checked my work. I added all the good times and memories I enjoyed with my family and friends, subtracted the hurt, shock, shame, and embarrassment I felt the day I got arrested, and divided into the amount of relationships affected since my incarceration. That produced frustration with a fractional remainder of pain over suffering multiplied by the absolute fact that I am innocent giving me the final number of zero days that I should have spent in jail.

Freedom for me is both physical and mental. Physically, you should be able to do whatever you want to do legally, as long as you do not infringe on others. Mentally, it is a pure state of mind. Being relaxed, at peace, and not in bondage with toxic emotions such as anger and envy.

Freedom is what I had 8 years ago. The luxury to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted, family friends, women, money, and happiness. Now that I am in jail I wouldn’t necessarily say my freedom has been completely taken away but it has been severely impacted. Most of the time I am in the same place every day with little opportunity to go elsewhere. My family, friends, and women fluctuate, support-wise. I’m forced to be dependent on others for money and I experience depression more than I experience happiness. False captivity is what I have been enduring for the past 8 years. I’ve tried to maintain my sense of freedom by establishing a personal routine and staying connected with the outside world mostly over the phone or video visitations.

Father Time is a real tough guy. He’s been tough on me since I was born. He’s been doing time with me. Seeing him sometimes, Times can be good. Other times, his alter ego shows up and Times can be bad. Either way, I am dealing with him.

Once this whole ordeal is over with, Freedom to me will be enjoying life reunited with family and friends, I found the lady of my dreams, starting a family, and creating a legacy. Also, I would partake in inhaling all the legalized therapeutic herbal remedies as I can to help with my adjustment back in society.

The land of the free. Innocent until proven guilty. All punchlines to bad jokes. My life will forever be tainted because I was graded based on false information. I was labelled terrible names for something I didn’t do. Just like the math exam I was given, there is an error in the answer key. The metrics for keeping an innocent man in jail is poor at best, and ultimately wrong. Freedom should not be a double standard, an illusion, or a myth. It should be a reality and a guarantee, especially for those of us who are innocent.

On average, you see, there are 365 days in a year. I have unfortunately wasted 8 years in jail for a crime I did not commit. 2,920 days fighting for my freedom. 70,080 hours trying to prove my innocence. 4,204,800 minutes away from my family and friends. So, those precious 8 seconds you spent counting in the beginning that you will never get back, realize that I have been counting for 252,288,000 seconds. Precious time I will never get back. All for something I did not do.

I did the math. Now, it’s your turn.

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Read Danny’s Illustrated Memoir, Her First Love here.

Read the latest compilation book, Creators of the Future: Short Memoirs by ConTextos Authors Behind Walls here.

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