FADING AWAY FROM THE PRISON SERVICE
I have had a lot of high notes in correctional administration. And I relish every moment of it. I was a bubbly young man in my early 20s when public service beckoned and it is in the prison service where I stayed for almost two generations up until gray hair, wrinkled skin and shortness of breath would remind me that public service has a curtain time after all.
It is even ironic that expertise and proficiency would be achieved after years of practice. And achieving it at a time when time is almost up. On my way to the last stage of my career which would push me almost at the top, I realized that the game for me is about to be over. I must convince my superior that those tailing my career path are already ready to take over. That I must be given the leeway to set sail in another direction, towards the exit door and on that score, fade away, greetings of praise strewn on my way, sounds of clapping in between and more praises and assurances from those I have personally supervised, of having built a solid foundation of friendship in the process specially among my comrades, and I mean all personnel, in the organization.
I know for a fact that government service exacts a high degree of conduct precisely from its rank and file. A single error, a flaw or a minute incident could blow the lid and the disgrace of suspension from the service if not dismissal is just around the corner. A career built seriously on the ground of scholarly audacity must never be saddled with such interruption. And this can be done by bowing slowly, walking away carefully, seeking refuge in some familiar corners, never mind if there are no more powers to be yielded, never mind if some friends could no longer be assisted, never mind if in a minute one finds himself outside the active loop of the organization.
Retirement is just another phase, and to a certain extent, a sad one at that. It is leaving familiar grounds. It is leaving behind a coterie of admirers and helpless seekers. It is entering another episode without the mandatory organizational discipline of filing daily time records, of responding immediately to the call of a superior, of being blamed, of being suspected and of being ignored too when recognition is the topic. I would also miss those moments whenever I would become a subject of a poison letter. It is the whole caboodle of experience one undergoes every so often. It is foregoing the fireworks that accompany work. It is getting into the grove of unemployment.
Most of my contemporaries have retired already. Some went abroad. Some got into a small scale business. Others went around looking for another job. A good number however were admitted into the pearly gates a few Samsung versions ago.
This is one period closer to the end game. It is some kind of a stage where sickness is almost a second nature. The wear and tear of the body slowly shows up in colorful form. Whatever has been saved, whatever has been invested seems to find its way either to the hospital or the drug store, the better part however goes inside the pocket of the doctor.
Life is reinvented after the culmination of a career. Another challenge beckons. Sensitivity is sharpened once in a while. A whiff of air at times is seen as godsend, if unguarded it could mean some inconsiderate soul hurled something somewhere. The body’s chemistry is always at odds with reality. Old age has come of age.
Most of my loved ones, those who accompanied me from birth have occupied slots in heaven already. They are now watching over me if I intend to fly fast to reach them or will just observe how I will transform myself from a gutsy looking menace into a wobbly worm like centenarian. Time is grinding fast or slow depending on how one spends it. For me, it is the usual movement of the clock, the bundy clock in my office on one hand, the wristwatch on the other.
It is ticking away a period, translating it into memories. It is preserving a speck of an instance in the whole spectrum of the universe. It is fading away, slowly, all alone, appreciating the panorama, a beautiful expanse I once was a part of, my home for decades, my philosophical solace—the prison service.