Behind the Walls

For the past nine months, I've lived in the strangest city in the world. No where else on the planet will you find the state execution chamber half a mile away from a state university. No where else (that I know of) will you find an execution chamber sitting right in the middle of the downtown square. 

People from the outside don't get it. People always criticize my mom, "how could you let your daughter move to a town with death row? What happens if an inmate escapes from prison?"

You wanna know what will happen if an inmate escapes from prison? They sure as hell will not be staying in Huntsville, I can tell you that.

People back home wonder how scary it is, especially the days when the state executes someone. They can't understand how I feel so safe when there are over 1000 murderers living half a mile away. People just don't comprehend it all. 

Honestly, it's not that big of a deal. Every day, the prison sirens go off every couple of hours. It's the only reminder of what lies just a few blocks away. 

Execution days? I think every execution that has happened, I found about it after it had already happened earlier in the day. 

It's a strange town, but the Huntsville Unit (nicknamed "Walls"), is just so incorporated into the town, it's hard to imagine Huntsville without it. 

It's hard to imagine hearing those sirens every day. It's hard to imaging asking people "Oh what's your major?" and having them say "CJ" (for criminal justice) nine times out of ten. It's hard to imagine walking to the Greyhound Station and walking in on all the new parolees getting ready to leave town.

Next week, I'll move back home for the summer. Flower Mound and Huntsville really couldn't be much more different. While I'll be glad for the change of pace for a few months, I know that Huntsville will still be engrained in my mind; I'll still hear sirens go off in my head around the same time I know they'll be going off here in Huntsville.

Huntsville, it's hard to imagine you with out your prisons (yes, plural!) everywhere. It's hard to imagine your small town ways. It's hard to imagine you anyway besides you the way you are.

1 Comment:

Amanda said...

Huntsville really is a great small town. It's actually my hometown. Eventually you will not even notice the sirens.

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