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By Uhuru Rowe
June 3rd, 2016

I have known Pain all of my life, althought I’ve only vaguely known Death.  They are relatives of sorts and both have found it necessary to hold me hostage in a world that I have neither the strength nor the resolve to break free of.

Many times when I thought it was Death knocking on my door, it turned out to be Pain instead.

Pain and I have become very much acquainted since my birth.  It was Pain who flew into a jeolous tirade and injured my friends Hope and Joy when all they were trying to do was show me a good time.

Pain was there when I was robbed of my childhood innocence; when I was bullied in school; when I experienced my first heartbreak; when I was labeled the black sheep of my family; when I was rejected and looked down upon by this cruel, racist Amerikan society solely because of the color of my skin.

Sometimes Pain offered me some drugs and alcohol, and even a gun to cope with life.  But as of late, he’s only offered me misery and suffereing.

Unlike everyone else who’ve abondoned me during times of distress, Pain has  remained consistently loyal and attentive.

When I was sentenced to die in prison; when my father and brother died within a year of each other; when I was placed on solitary confinement, it was Pain who sought me out and wrapped in his arms and squeesed me until I felt numb and paralyzed.

But death is not like his cousin Pain.  Whereas Pain relishes in and thrives on my suffering and agony, Death wants to put me out of my misery.

Death is scary but he offers me an easy way out: a noose, a razor blade, or a deadly concoction of pills; but I am not ready to accept these things from Death even though he daily flaunts them before me in an alluring and enticing fashion.

Death was there when I tried to commit suicide in my early teenage years.  Death was there when I was nearly murdered in an attempted robbery.  He was there when I cought this case – taking the lives of my two victims when I wished it was me he’d taken instead.  And I think I heard him whisper in my ear when I went on a hunger stirke.

While Pain is loud, abrasive and chaotic, Death is smooth, quiet and calculating.  I can never hear him coming.

Death has gotten accustomed to sneaking up and setting next to me while I’m being entertained by Pain, hoping that I’ll turn and acknowledge him.

Perhaps, one day, when Pain gets to be too much, solitary becomes unbearable, and Hope and Joy are nowhere to be found, I’ll turn and introduce myself to Death and consider what he has to offer.

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