Thank God for apathy and cowardice.
When I came home from prison, one of my paramount fears and causes of anxiety was facing reality while wearing my newly-assigned (but deserved) scarlet letter. I held a strange but unfounded fear of someone shouting at me in public or spitting in my face or something. But nothing even remotely close to that has happened. In fact, just the opposite. At first, I wondered why no one seemed to care, then it was adequately explained to me by someone who put it perfectly: People are typically too obsessed with their own lives to care about the lives of those in whom they have no vested interest.
It’s funny how people will watch TV and sneer at people like me when I’m on the news, but when it comes to leaving their living rooms and encountering real people face-to-face, people are either too apathetic or too cowardly to say something; and this is assuming that they know at all. In this situation, I’ve never been so happy to be forgotten. I still feel the inclination to be the social person that I was before, but I would rather be anonymous — a face in the crowd — and I pray that anytime I go out in public, I don’t see anyone I know.
This is no way to live, and perhaps it’s partially my fault for moving back to my hometown — the town where I was arrested — my only two options are to stay and adjust or leave. But what few friends I still have are still in my hometown, and I can’t exactly afford to be choosy, and I don’t want to because the friends I have now are the friends who have stuck with me through everything, and that makes them all-the-more valuable to me and to my life. These are the people who love me, regardless of my terrible choices. These are the people who have the courage to remain friends with me, no matter how they think it would make them “look” to the outside world. These are the people with integrity.
These people are my friends.