My earliest memories are from when I was five or six, maybe younger. We had a side porch and when it was raining outside, my brother, cousins, and I would sing out at the rain, “Rain, rain, go away, come again another day.” There is a smell that rain gives off, and I can’t name it, but it is the same scent I can smell when it rains where I am now.
I carry a scar with me from back then, too. When I was little, I fell asleep on the couch, which had a shelf over it, holding a mini stereo. The cord was hanging down, and I was such a wild sleeper that I got tangled in the cord and pulled the stereo down on my head, splitting my ear open. I don’t remember that part, but I remember how they had to hold me down at the hospital to stitch my ear up because I was terrified of needles.
My heart feels sorrow when I think back to those memories now, knowing that most of the people from that life are gone. I wish I could go back there, to the side porch.
Sitting on death row, you think about a lot of things. Having a death sentence is just that – having it – until the time comes when there is a very real possibility an execution date could be given. That’s when the term ‘the shit hits the fan’ becomes part of the equation. That’s when the wondering starts working on you, the thinking and trying to figure out what’s what in this life you have lived so far.
Sometimes I want to know what’s to come, but other times I don’t. There are times when I think about death so much that it becomes like a physical being, filling the space around me and pressing down on my soul. It’s then that the nervousness threatens to consume me. When I lay down at night I close my eyes and slow my breathing and try to feel it, the nothingness, a sleep from which I will never wake up.
But, I still have to shake it off. Consciousness is all I’ve ever known. Smelling the rain is what I know.
Travis Runnels, is a published author, who is currently working on his second novel.
Travis Runnels #999505
3872 FM 350
Livingston, TX 77351