I'm awake but my eyes are not open. There is no need to look; I already know what is out there.
Every morning for eight months now my eyes open to the ever watchful gaze of my vertical guardians. Freedom is just a word to me. I leave these four walls only by choice of others.
I am a prisoner.
Of the few periods a day I am granted release from my cell, "free time" is one of my favorites. When it's raining we have to stay indoors, but when the sun is out they give me a reasonable area to roam about and allow me to pass the days under blue skies rather then the dimly lit confines of the box I call home.
Most of the time I don't go very far.
Even if I made a quick dash for it, they would catch me. Where could I really go anyway? They don't even need those bars to confine me, we all know I'm not going anywhere. No, better just to enjoy the hand you're dealt and ride it out.
My least favorite part of the day is the chair. Do they put me in it as a joke or is this actually my future? Once familiar with the frequent embrace of loving arms, I am now a regular customer of metal and nylon. Luckily these periods are kept short and it's back to following the agenda of others.
I'm allowed to exercise, in fact, it's encouraged. Squats, push-ups, lunges. Everything you would expect. There is a special routine my instructors seem to prefer; station to station frenzies that rarely heed my cries of protest. My guess is that it’s as tiring for them as it is for me.
Someday I will get my revenge on that bench. Presses and pulls with no reward except for seeing stars in my eyes? No thank you. I'll clap along to whatever tune they want as long as I don't have to see that contraption again.
The food is as you would expect. Water, powdered milk, and some sort of gruel they try to pass off as rice. Even the vegetables they serve here are pureed. What I wouldn't give for just a taste of their food so cruelly flaunted in front of me meal after meal.
It's not all bad actually.
Aside from that bench and my bars, life is great. I have no responsibilities, I have no money concerns, and I have nothing but time on my side. I may complain about the food a little, but at least they are feeding me. When you get right down to it, I have it good.
My favorite part of the day comes last. We are allowed three books before bedtime, but I usually elect to go with two for I am often tired. Then, right before I'm returned to the confines of my bars, and even before the last page of Goodnight Moon is turned, I remember that I'm not just a prisoner, but rather a prisoner of love.
'Brad the Dad' is a parent columnist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter @readbradthedad.