• Cindy Marabito

SKY: Intro to The Legend of Sky Diamond

Sky

I never considered myself a writer. At least I didn’t until the mid 90’s. That was when this group, Turn the Page, started up in my unit. I thought, what the hell, something to pass the time, right? It was headed up by a chick from A & M college, Heidi Sloan and they only let ten of us in the class. I was one of them. I didn’t have anything left to lose and found out writing is pretty easy when you’ve run out of all other options. You sit there, just you and your ballpoint. The blank paper didn’t even bother me. Something in me kicked in and I began putting words down on the page, Next thing you know, I had one of them filled up and went on to the next one. Just like the name of the class and the Bob Seger song. For what it’s worth, what you see here is my story. I looked up genres at the prison library and mine fits into more than a couple of them. Romance, thriller, adventure. Yeah, my memoir ticks all the boxes and more. I’d say the primary pigeonhole would be a prison drama. You see, I’m doing time at Mountainview Unit in Gatesville. You don’t need me to tell you about exposition in a backstory, a complex plot line or how historical context weaves into the fabric of a tale, but you do need me to tell you what happened to me. You can say a lot about me and people have, but if there’s one thing I am, it’s the master of my own narrative. So, I’ll start by painting a picture of where I now call home. Mountainview Unit is where I wound up. It’s situated about four miles out of Gatesville, Texas about a 45 minute drive from Waco. Gatesville’s home to five of the eight women’s prisons and jails in the state. The only thing uglier than Mountainview itself is the tract housing in town. There’s all kinds of prisons and the town of Gatesville looks exactly like what it is. A prison town. I only saw the place once and that was enough to last me. The dirt colored red brick dominates the ranch style terrain. The common denominator among its inmates is to put as many miles you could count between them and this place. I’ve got a lot to tell and have the filled-up notebooks to show for it. Best way is to start at the beginning. I suppose you’re wondering what a nice girl like me is doing in a place like this. How does somebody whose photo was on the side of every bus and taxicab in Dallas, Texas end up doing hard time in an East Texas penitentiary? I’ll get to that, but one last thing. The judge who sentenced me looked down at me with gray eyes over the top of her bifocals, she looked at me hard. With judgment. She looked like somebody’s grandmother and a hard one with rules. I never had that growing up. She gave me twenty years hard time at Christina Melton Crain unit, the maximum sentence. “Good luck,” she said. It’s the kind of detail that has always baffled me in life, the funny things people say. My name is Sky Diamond and I am dead. How’s that for luck?

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