Ryan Donnelly's Blog

First Day Of Work, Lunch Time!

Finished my break and went back to work. Millions of thoughts about the future swarmed around my mind. Time was flying by and before I knew it, it was time for lunch.

The workday for all of us consisted of three different lunch periods, once again, like school. This meant that the warehouse always had workers hustling away in intervals.

The entire sorting room moved as one giant unit all the way from the street through the back of the building. On my first day of work, I really didn’t know anyone, so I kind of felt like the odd man out. I kept to myself and when I went to eat I migrated immediately toward Frank’s table.

When I got to the table I found myself sitting there alone. I was the only one who had this lunch time. So, I ate my first lunch by myself. While I was finishing up I heard a voice come up behind me. It was Patrick.

Patrick was a 40-year-old white guy who looked as jolly as Santa, but you knew when crossed he’d break you in half. Without exaggerating, I would say he stood at a proud six foot five. He had come over to me to ask how my first day of work was going.

I looked at him with a smile and told him that I thought it was going great. He joked back and said I smelled like I was really enjoying myself. I didn’t even realize how bad I must of smelled from being around all that garbage, I guess I was immune to it.

Pat seemed like a good guy to know, and an even better guy to have in my corner. I was so full, but Pat looked like he could eat all day, so I offered him my dessert. He accepted. It was an instant friendship.

We walked back to the warehouse together, and along the way he told me about his past hardships. He explained to me briefly about his encounter with drugs and his stay in prison. We bonded a lot over the course of that short walk, and I felt like I made a good friend in Pat.

Before I knew it, my first work day was over. I walked back to my 6th floor room and just gazed out the window for a bit. I had so much to write about in my journal. I sat and I wrote about all of the great people I had met already and how I wanted to give these guys a voice. I decided then and there that all of their stories needed to be heard, or else they would just stay tucked away in this place forever. The men I had met in the last 24 hours were more interesting than most of the people I had ever encountered. I sat and started writing away.

Over the intercom I heard my name called. I had to go to the Chapel for my first counseling meeting. It was time to work on my mind, and I could not wait to get started. It was pretty obvious how apparent my eagerness was, when I walked in for my session. I sat down with open ears and a smile on my face.

A man next to me asked why I seemed so happy. He informed me that I smelled like shit and that this place sucked.

I found myself laughing at him and as normal as I could have possibly said it, I informed him right back, that today was the day I took my first breath. I told him that it was the first day in years that I was no longer a prisoner of my own mind.

He smiled really big and just said, “ Thanks. I needed to hear that.”

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