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Essay: "Too Close for Comfort"

by Bryan Page
I often find myself viewing things in ways that are much too static. For example, when I hear the phrase, "Too Close for Comfort," I think of barely missing a bad experience. When narrowly avoiding a car accident, my first thoughts are "phew, that was too close for comfort."

Since coming to prison, things I have always held as normal have somehow came askew. Things I thought no person should do to another are done everyday, and things that people should always do for each other are never done. There is plenty of time for contemplation here and whether for bad or good, I have utilized it. One of the things I have learned is that there is always more than one side to everything and though "too close for comfort" usually comes with a sigh of relief, it can also come to a tremendous weight of regret.

In my personal life, "too close for comfort" was the foundation of a defensive wall built inside me to protect my emotions and sanity. I often spent lengthy periods of time among suffering people whose futures were as uncertain as the times. I needed the ability to love people to a point before it would bounce off that defensive wall. Take Marta for example, a thirteen year old girl at the beginning of womanhood. She had a pretty face and a huge smile, long gangly legs that caused her every move to look uncertain. Marta had the unfortunate problem that she was born and lived in a colony in southern Mexico that was frequently recruited (by deception or force) for the whorehouses. These men had been sniffing around and I had heard were looking at Marta.

I made it my personal mission to change this one's future. I had allowed Marta to get "too close for comfort," and she hopped right over that damned wall I thought was not scalable. In fact, now that I think about it, they all did. I guess I was never any good at that whole philosophy of detachment.

We managed to raise enough money to be able to help Marta, but I can't tell you how. Last I heard, she was married and recently was out marching for her rights if you understand my meaning.

It was not what almost happened to Marta (a near miss) that I am talking about, that happens to children there all the time. It is the fact that loving someone, really letting them in, when all your common sense tells you not to, is letting them get "too close for comfort," and it is something you don't want to miss.

-Bryan Page