I walked around and around the holding cell. My shackles only allowed so much give. Stupid ass song was in my head and I have no idea why. “You walked into the party like you were walking into a yacht…”
I couldn’t understand why Carly Simon was in my head when clearly, there were other songs I knew all the words to. I was waiting for the marshals to come get me and lead me in the court room. I read the scratched in writing in the painted metal door and bench. Angry Indians leaving messages to the government, leaving words to their loved ones who might also by chance sit in this holding cell as they too faced federal charges. My heart beat along with the song in my head.
I started counting my steps. Became bored after a thousand…song still in my head….“I bet you think this song is about you, dontchu?”
I tried to not think about my fate lying in the hands of the judge they called an “Indian Hanger.” I tried not to think about my kids. I tried not to think about my life. I just wanted to be strong, don’t cry whatever you do. You’re going to be judged a bad person for the rest of your life so fuck everyone.
Finally I heard the ominous footsteps, and shackles dragging from another Indian who was just sentenced.
They open my door. “Ready Lone Hill?”
I say nothing and walk in the courtroom. Look past the white men, my dad said, beyond them. They are nothing to you but white men. You have ancestors behind you. See your future beyond the feds. Beyond the courtroom walls. There is a life waiting for you when you are done.
MY dad, grandma, and adopted brother were in the courtroom. It felt good to see them but I didn’t want to be sentenced in front of anyone. No reporters, thank god. My kids didn’t need to see bullshit about me.
The sentencing went fast, I remember my voice shaking as I read my statement but only because of my fear of public speaking. I wasn’t scared. I knew they were going to give me 12 months. We had all agreed on that. I could handle that even though I didn’t want to. I just sat 4 in the county. I remember the judge asking me why? Why? Why? Why the fuck would he ask me about something he was going to judge me on? It was already done.
I looked past him, don’t remember my answer, just kept looking past him. You’re nobody I thought. He heard my thoughts. “Eighteen months.” He said and his gavel came down.
I nodded. What an asshole. My lawyer whispered to me he would meet me at my holding cell and that I could say hi to my family bot no hugs or touching.
I smiled at them as I walked out. Weak smile, my grandma still looked ever so regal, head held high and hurt. My bro Tobe, nodded back. The way hoods nod at each other. My dad had tears in his eyes.
My heart broke.
I put my head down and walked out the courtroom as hot tears fell.
Fuuuck the feds I screamed in my head. They won’t hold me down to ever feel this way again.
I put my head up, tears kept falling and I looked through every person in that courthouse as if they were invisible.
This will all be over soon. I thought as I boarded the cargo elevator in my chains.