Olay guessed that being allowed to go with them as they took William out of confinement was probably some sort of special treatment. After all, the rules forbid it. This might be due to William’s special identity, or that he had been William’s protector these days. He now stared at the door, behind which William was confined.
They opened the door of the solitary confinement room – when it was closed, there is absolutely no light. If you put your hand in front of your eyes, you won’t be able to count your fingers. The tiny room only allows one person to stand but not walk. The toilet was next to it, and meals would be passed through the tiny window on the door. William crawled in the corner in a pathetic position – there wasn’t even enough space for him to lie flat. How could he stay like that for an entire month!
His blonde hair grew much longer. Though messy, they were a pure, warm golden color. The sudden light was so scary to him that he covered his eyes with his arms, and instinctively tried to hide away.
“The confinement has ended. Get out, William.” Truman said. He bent down to drag him up. William flinched. His blue eyes were filled with confusion, blankness, and the fear of everything outside – including light and his friend. This is a normal human reaction. After confined in darkness alone for a month, anyone would end up like that.
He could barely walk. When he saw Olay, he tried to move his lips – he tried and tried, but failed to make a single sound. He had forgotten how to speak.
He was severely damaged mentally. He looked so pathetic that Olay had the impulse to kill everyone that had hurt him.
Olay tried to smile, but he was not sure whether it looked more like crying. He walked towards William, but William stepped back. He didn’t dare to look at him. The solitary confinement lasted for so long that he grew a fear of the outside world.
Olay suddenly hugged him tightly, as if he was going to merge him into his body. He felt the warmth in William’s body, and at the same time conveyed his own warmth to him. William quietly stayed in his arms after a minor struggle. “It’s okay now.” He whispered to the blonde man. The long hair was tickling his face. The man in his arms relaxed slightly. Olay kissed his hair. “Let’s go back.” he said, hugging him tightly, so that William could feel his warmth and weight.
William grabbed his arms tightly, almost painfully, but he liked that pain. Maybe other people will shut down their soul and be swallowed by loneliness and guilt, but not his William.
Jory told Olay, “He might not be able to speak for now, but he should recover after several attempts. You know, it’s because……”
“I know.” Olay said, bringing William back to his cell. He told William in a soft voice that the management gave them a double room temporarily, and he would take him back to shower. He told him everything was okay now, and that he will always be by his side.
*** *** ***
“I… I kept dreaming about her. Then I saw her standing in front of me, talking to me…” William told him at night. He could talk normally now. Even though the side effects were not completely gone, he recovered faster than anyone Olay had ever seen. “I’ve always thought that she hated me. I promised to protect her and love her for the rest of my life, but I failed to do it…”
“What did she say?” Olay asked. Extreme isolation could leave someone’s brain in chaos, or it might even collapse. Maybe they had too much time to think, whereas self-criticism and guilt were their biggest enemies.
A pair of blue eyes fixed on him. “She doesn’t hate me. How could she hate me? She was such a kind, gentle woman, who wouldn’t even kill an ant… Oh, she didn’t know how to hate. I can’t imagine that she would hate me. She loved me deeply, like I do for her. She wanted me to be happy.”
“So long… It took me so long to figure out that she did not hate me… All we had for each other was love. She stood there, smiling at me, like many years ago. Her eyes were filled with love and happiness… How could I believe that she hated me? I was an idiot…” He talked in a low voice. Olay put his head on his shoulder, “You can cry,” he said.
“I don’t wanna cry. Really.” William said, “I am happy. So many people love me.”
“It took me so long to understand. I was such an idiot,” he smiled, “What, Olay?”
Olay shook his head. This guy’s eyes were always like this. So kind and sincere, making people feel warm. No matter what environment he was in, he always had so much happiness. He doesn’t belong here.
William saw the blood-stained bandage on Olay’s forehead. “He hit you?” He asked.
“Oh… I guess he wanted to make me drunk, but it turns out that he was even less tolerant than I,” Olay said, “He drank too much.”
“Are you defending him?” William said, “Did you also think that calling him an ‘asshole’ was too much? I am so sorry. You know I rarely swear like that, but I was so mad……”
“He seemed very disturbed over your accusation.”
William’s eyes went wide open, “He heard that?” He was in disbelief. “I thought he passed out. Most people would… Why did he hit you? If he’s pissed, then fight me!”
“There is no need for reasons if a guard wants to beat people up. Besides, I’ve told you that he was too drunk. He said a lot of silly things. I am not sure if it was me being bad at expressing myself, but he couldn’t make sense of what I was talking about.”
“What did he say?” William asked.
“He asked me to rescue him…… Oh, he asked for redemption. He thought of me as Jesus or Buddha. No one can atone for others. Not even the gods.”
“You think so? But you did help me a lot. Without you, I would have continued to self-exile. It was you that helped me…”
“Oh, I wasn’t talking about that, William.” Olay smiled, “Speaking of redemption, you’ve helped me too. Without you, I wouldn’t be any better either. But neither of us saved each other. Even without me you would still find the lights of your life; at most it would have taken longer. Likewise, without you, I would have gradually learnt how to love as well… Nobody can rescue another person. The only one that can rescue you is yourself.”
“Man like you, William… No matter what kind of horrible things happens to you, you will remain kind and just, because there is light in your heart. You always walk towards it in the end. Even though you sometimes slow down, you will never sink to the darkness… But the men with darkness in their heart, no upright man could save them, because corruption starts from inside the body.”
“What kind of man is Hill?”
“Oh, he thirsts for the light, because something righteous is howling from inside his body …… But I can’t explain it to him… I hate him. I can’t forgive him. He could find the way without me. He got lost, but I don’t care.”
“But you are gonna suffer,” William said in a low voice. Then he thought of something and fumbled under the pillow and found half a pack of cigarettes. He passed one to Olay. The latter whistled. “Good stuff.”
“Even though what you said was a bit too abstract for me to understand,” William said, “I feel that I am very lucky. I always meet the nicest people. I guess you think the same.” He proudly said, and threw him a lighter.
“You are serving in jail, sir.” Olay rolled his eyes, “and you just came out from solitary confinement. Were you born so insensitive?”
“What do you mean?” William was confused, “Isn’t that so? There are always good things in my life. When I was a kid, I was ignorant. When I was confused and rebellious, my parents were always by my side, telling me how beautiful the world was; when they both passed away, I met Susan, she told me how much she loved me; when I lost her and our child, I met you.”
Olay gazed at him. This man still had traces of a month’s mental torture on him. He was an orphan. He was raped by men. He lost his wife and he was in jail. But those blue eyes were full of happiness. Such genuine happiness, in such utter darkness. Olay laughed, and suddenly hugged him. William froze and yelled drily, “Don’t do this, Olay, What are you doing? We will be misunderstood as homosexual!”
Olay laughed. “Nothing. I just suddenly feel that, this world is such a nice place.”