It took just a fleeting moment to cross the threshold of the prison gate and become a free man again. The flood of contradicting emotions almost drowned me. I stood a few feet away from the barbed wire fence not looking back at the place where I had spent almost ten years of hatred and grief: a high security prison, one day in which can make someone, not grown in the brutality of criminal world, mentally and physically ill.
I looked around in disbelief: no guards close by watching my steps; no restriction of any kind; a huge space around me, beautiful and impassive. Stunning! I could do anything, even commit a crime, and no one would stop me. Nobody actually cared what I intended to. “Don’t worry people,” I said in whisper. “I have no intention to get back to this zoo.”
At the age of twenty-seven I knew nothing about day-to-day life, which I was supposed to now live. I did not know how to buy a ticket for a bus or train, how to ask people for directions to places, how to buy things, how to find out the price of goods in a store, or host of other things, to which even kids won’t give a second thought.
Slowly walking along the street, I turned my head left and right, admiring the late summer day, young women wearing light and provoking outfits, sleek cars, and huge blue sky, which I used to see in a frame of small windows or metal bars. The most weird though were pedestrians’ faces; not grim, not hostile, not suspicious or inquiring. Some of them even smiled in response to my stare. This was almost absurd: who in his right mind could be so nice to someone who less than an hour ago was released from a con’s madhouse?
Anyway, I needed help from one of them for getting to the nearest bus stop on the way to the railway station. My eye caught a middle-aged woman crossing toward me. She was very fat. Her gait was swaying and slow, mimicking a lazy, domesticated duck. She wore a red blouse and black stretching pants; the garments jointly emphasised major imperfections of her figure. When the distance between us shrunk to a few feet I blocked her way.