Wednesday, December 25, 2013


 An essay by Charles Patrick Norman

Prisoners carry their crimes and convictions in sacks thrown over their shoulders. Some have small bags that are almost empty, soon to be freed and on their own, free to leave their bags empty or refill them as they choose. Others struggle under the weight of heavy loads, so much time crammed into their packs that they can barely haul them around without stumbling, falling, and giving up. We all have our burdens, heavy or light.

It falls upon my shoulders, standing here in front of fifteen men dressed in cheap prison blue uniforms with white stripes down the sides, sitting at school desks designed for younger ones in a small classroom formerly used as the property room, to direct these men in the art and craft of creative writing.

That I am standing here at all, entrusted with instructing these men, poses no few questions in my own mind, fully cognizant of the irony that the same authorities who ordered me, “Norman, stop writing!” months before, the same ones who punished my creative writing by locking me in a solitary confinement cell for thirty days for refusing to stop writing, those same authorities have allocated this time and place to teach this class. When your jailer sets a ripe watermelon on a table surrounded by hungry men, they do not sit there and question the watermelon as to its motives. They eat.

To my right at a larger desk sits a young woman who takes the roll, calling out names and checking them off her list. She teaches a “transition class” for prisoners who are to be released soon, but she has this block of time open once a week, when she can sit in and monitor, supervise, or sponsor this voluntary program. The prison officials need assurance that we will use this time for creative writing and not incendiary or seditious acts. I have no intention of betraying the limited trust these people have bestowed on me. I’ve done this before, and welcome their observations. Let us eat the watermelon.

Do you have something to say? I ask. Do you have stories you want to tell? Memories of your life you want to preserve, so they will not be lost? Can creative writing be taught? Can you learn to be a better writer of poems, stories, memoirs, essays? Speaking for myself, the answer is yes to all of the above.

Writing is like fishing. Before you go fishing, you must have a desire to fish. Many people have never gone fishing, and neither intend to fish, nor learn to fish. Once you acknowledge the desire to learn to fish, how do you accomplish that desire?

First you need some tools: a fishing rod, line, hooks, bait. Then you need a body of water that contains fish: a river, creek, pond, lake, bay, or ocean. You won’t catch any fish casting your line on dry land. And you must learn the techniques of fishing, preferably from an experienced fisherman who will share his knowledge, show you how to bait your hook and where to cast your line. Hopefully, if all goes right, you’ll get a nibble, then land a fish, and another, and another.

I explain that, in writing, like fishing, you will be surprised at what you catch. Did you expect to land a salmon, or a short story? Hopefully, by putting yourself into position to write, inspiration will strike, and seemingly miraculous things will result.

One week I directed the students to choose a poem to read to the class the following week, one they wrote, or one they like, that speaks to them.

You must understand that prisoners are little different from “free people” in many ways. Countless times I’ve heard guards admit that the only  difference between them and us is that they didn’t get caught. Men are men, in prison or out, and many men have difficulty expressing their thoughts, feelings, emotions, even to those closest to them. To put those thoughts on paper, to put them “out there,” to be read, scrutinized, or studied by strangers, is a task too daunting to risk for many. I break them in slowly, gently, talking about other people, an unforgettable person who had a positive impact on their lives, and one who had a negative impact. Opposites.

And so it went, oiling the rusty gears in each our minds, for I am susceptible to the same negative forces that affect everyone in prison, although I am much further down the road to self-discovery than most of my compatriots.

Several men read poems they’d written, and a few were surprisingly insightful, though lacking the technical skills I hope to impart over time. A few groused at the prospect of being forced to read poems, and expressed their hesitancy at studying something they weren’t interested in. I explained that the knowledge gained from reading and studying poetry made us better writers, no matter what the type of writing we pursued. Our class sponsor spoke up and commented on how change can be difficult perhaps awkward or painful, but that it is good to embrace change, to open ourselves to new experiences that could waken hidden talents. Well said.

Knowing the recalcitrant nature of prisoners, that a few would try to avoid the public reading assignment by claiming not to have been able to find a suitable poem, I trumped that argument by handing out books of famous poems I chose for them. The session went well. Little did they suspect what they would be called on to do for the next class.

I obtained some materials from Libby, my dear friend and researcher, a bio of Robert Frost, and a literary analysis of two of his most famous beloved poems, The Road Not Taken, and Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening. Our class sponsor made copies, and the students were instructed to study the material. Besides continuing writing their daily journal entries, the next assignment struck fear in a few hearts — write a poem. You can do it. Class dismissed.

I live in a “dorm,” a large room with bunks for seventy-two men sardined together with virtually no personal space in the cramped quarters. Everyone is exposed and open to everyone else, including the guards in their goldfish bowl “officer station,” where they look out over men sleeping, fighting, talking, reading, showering or sitting on toilets twenty-four hours a day. Forget privacy. Writing these words at this moment, I listen to Diane Rehm talking about Nelson Mandela on National Public Radio while trying to ignore the incessant, mindless chatter of a dozen men, all within spitting distance. Fortunately, I’ve developed the ability to train my concentration onto the lined paper before me, screening out prison bedlam, else I’d never be able to accomplish anything. The conditions are less than optimum for creative writing, but we make do.

A day or so after our class I noticed one of the students furiously scribbling, sitting on his bunk, tuning out those around him. That went on for hours.

The next day he came to me, smiling. I put down the new John Grisham book, Sycamore Row, that a friend had loaned me, sat up on my bunk, and asked him what he had.

“I wrote my first poem,” he said, proudly, thrusting a sheet of paper toward me. “I’ve never wrote a poem in my life. What do you think?”

I read it. The poem was pretty good. I liked it. “It’s good, man,” I said. “There are a couple of minor grammar things you can fix. Congratulations.”

He smiled bigger, and produced several more sheets of paper, thrusting them toward me. “I got inspired. Here’s five more. What do you think?”

I liked them. He was in a groove. I encouraged him to keep writing.

Those are the moments that teachers live for, that make all the headaches, hassles and obstructions worthwhile, when a light comes on in a student’s head, and it suddenly makes sense. My friend had paid attention to the lessons, dared to cast his line into unfamiliar waters, and pulled out a fish.

In a couple of weeks we will work on short stories, and see what kinds of stories they have to tell. Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Welcome Visit by Charlie’s cousin, Bill Odom Dec. 7, 2013

This morning early they called me to the visiting park. My cousin, Bill Odom, drove from Nashville to visit for the day. I hadn’t seen him since 2000, and it was a great day to be reunited after so much time. Although we come from similar backgrounds – Bill’s late mother, Ruthie Jean, and my mother were sisters — in the summer of my twelfth year, in Sulphur Springs, Texas, we both played on the little league baseball team that Bill’s father, John Odom, managed and coached, our paths diverged, and we led entirely different lives.

While I was serving a life sentence, Bill embarked on a career as a court reporter, married and raised three children, worked for the Speaker of the House in the U.S. Capitol, met presidents, and recently retired from the federal government. Now he is taking time to travel the country and reconnect with relatives. All the things I lot, or never had, Bill was blessed to have, through faith and diligent work. We had a lot to talk about.

The time raced by too quickly, and it seemed that we’d barely eaten our canteen hamburgers and taken the above photo before it was time to go. We shared prayers of thanks and faith, that God protect us both, hugged, and Bill was gone. He’ll spend a few days visiting other relatives, my mother, and my aunt in Tampa, before returning to Nashville, where he now lives.

Below is a photo of my mother and Bill’s mother in Texarkana, sometime around 1948, before either of us was born. Bill said he had never seen it. My mother, Lucille Walker, at left, and Bill’s mother, Ruthie Jean Walker, were carefree teens who had no idea what the future would bring. It is one of my favorite photos. I’ve asked my mother what she was thinking, what they were doing, and who took the photo, but she couldn’t remember.

Bill promised he would stay in touch, and not let so much time pass between visits, and  I’m looking forward to seeing him again. After enjoying a visit with my mother and Phil in October, four days of visits with Libby over Thanksgiving, following up with my cousin’s visit, I’ve had a multitude of blessings.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013


DECEMBER 10 2013: A year ago today, on the occasion
of my late father’s birthday, I wrote this poem.

Eugene Norman would be  85 today. He died at 56.
I miss him still.



By Charles Patrick Norman

Had my father lived,
He would be pale and creaky,
His once-strong back bent with age,
Hobbling toward his car with cane in hand,
Determined to make the long trek
To whatever distant prison held his eldest son.

Through the chain-link fences I would see
His shock of white hair neatly trimmed, a G.I. flattop,
His spectacles thick now, glinting in the sunlight
As he checked his wallet, locked his car
In the prison parking lot, then slowly made
His way to the prison gate, alone.

Entering the visiting room his dimming eyes
Would squint and seek me out, and he would smile,
Yet I would know his heart wept at his son’s loss,
I would smile in return, embrace him in my strong arms,
And grieve for the fading of the vital man
He once had been, when we were young.

He would have stood in the long canteen line with me,
Suppressing the wince of pain every step evinced,
Demand that we order food and drink and eat,
Always the provider for his loved ones
Even though the effort cost him dearly, then
Would leave the prisoner in the window a healthy tip.

He would not have much to say, that was not his way,
But he would answer my every question
To my satisfaction and his exhaustion,
I would have to insist he take his leave
And leave me behind to my unknown fate,
He would shed one tear, he would have been eighty-four.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Here's a new poem from Charlie;
we hope you enjoy it, and we welcome your comments.


by Charles Patrick Norman

The producer, director, video and sound men
follow me down the catwalk to my cell.
I don’t like the idea of this going live
around the world, but, what the hell.
“This is great stuff,” the producer says,
As I turn from the camera to take a piss.
The sound guy holds the mic down by the bowl,
As I flush, he says, “This shot we don’t want to miss.”

The bell rings twice, chow time, we file out down the hall,
Other prisoners step out of our way with odd looks.
They’ve been told what will happen if they interfere at all,
After lunch, it’s the library to check out some books.
They tell me to head to the yard in search of some action,
A thousand rough men without shirts work out and run.
The tech crew will edit my talks with one faction,
Two groups start fighting like gladiators in the sun.

They shoot closeups of bloody men with stab wounds,
I had to cut a couple myself to make it look good.
The guards fired warning shots and scattered tear gas,
When that didn’t stop them they broke out the wood.
We helped haul the worst injured to the prison clinic,
The nurse took a smoke break, so I did some stitches.
The producer was giddy at the thought of such ratings,
I was tempted to give them to the bikers as bitches.

Later on they took shots of prison wine and some drinking,
Some cons broke out the weed and began smoking.
They video’d soaped-up men in the shower without thinking,
When the scene got x-rated they realized the boys were not joking.
While the cameras were running the crew got tattoos.
The warden took off, said he didn’t want to know.
He was going to a bar to get tanked on real booze,
And left me to live in the prison reality show.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


We were watching a Publix commercial on TV showing a happy family sharing a Thanksgiving meal, a table filled with delectable dishes most of us hadn’t tasted in years, and a massive, glistening roast turkey that might have been an ostrich, for all we know. On the outside we were laughing at one prisoner’s comment, “They’ll be serving that same meal in the chowhall on Thanksgiving,” but on the inside some of us were crying, bemoaning our enforced separation from family and loved ones for another traditional holiday, many for the rest of their lives.

After the mouthwatering Publix commercial came one for a nonprofit Pensacola homeless mission seeking donations to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving Day for $2.23 a plate. Scenes of pitiful-looking dental-deprived folks — some were ex-convicts, I felt certain — holding plates piled high with sliced turkey, dressing, and gravy, generated wistful memories of long-past holidays at home, where I was the delegated turkey slicer, followed by visions of what the actual prison meal will look like on that day. I thought, how much I wish I could pay $2.23 for a plate of turkey and dressing. That is not to be, not with the Florida prison food budget limited to $1.54 a day, for three meals.

Although my memory flashed back to holiday meals in prison years ago, when they served real turkey, it has been so long that I couldn’t pin down exactly when. Over thirty years ago, at Raiford, Union C.I., the University of Florida agricultural experiment station donated a flock of huge turkeys to the prison, They made an agreement — the prison slaughterhouse would weigh each giant bird, then kill and “process” each one, then measure the dressed weight. All the university wanted were the numbers. The turkeys were irrelevant. In exchange, we got a ton or so of prime turkey for free, roasted and served to 2,600 hungry prisoners.

That was prison, which is synonymous with crime and corruption, and a percentage of those Florida Gator turkeys went out the back door of the prison kitchen, stolen, sold, and surreptitiously turned into turkey sandwiches for those with the money to buy them. Some of the whole roast turkeys even escaped in cardboard boxes out the back gate and were consumed by the guards and their families. C’est la vie!

The only type of “meat” served in Florida prisons on Thanksgiving is some anonymous laboratory concoction that has only the most tenuous links to any winged creature. This tasteless, ground-up gray substance is added to potatoes, rice, or beans and ambitiously labelled with monikers like “Tuscan Stew,” “Conquistador Chili,” “Tamale Pizza,” “Zesty Patty,” “Breakfast Meat Gravy,” and other euphemisms that make it sound like gourmet meals from Bon Appetit magazine are being served in prison. The reality is far different. I call it “possum meat,” for lack of a better name.

As for myself, I will not be sharing the repast in the chowhall on Thanksgiving Day. I am blessed to have Libby, my dearest friend, making the trek of hundreds of miles from Jacksonville to this distant outpost on Thursday, and we will share a meal purchased from the visiting park canteen. It won’t be roast turkey from Publix, but the company we keep is more important than what we eat.

Even in prison for thirty-five years, oppressed and wrongfully convicted by a corrupt, politically-ambitious prosecutor, I am thankful for my many blessings. I love, and I am loved. I have miraculously survived eighteen prisons, against all odds. I have fought all attempts to silence my voice, and speak out via the Internet to thousands of people in seventy-five countries. I have maintained and grown my Christian faith and dedicated myself to helping those less fortunate than myself. I have hopes and dreams for a life in freedom, and I am grateful for those who have helped me along this path for all these years.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving holiday surrounded by family and loved ones.

  Happy Thanksgiving Day 
 from Charlie and Libby!

      Counting Our Blessings and Giving Thanks!

Sunday, November 24, 2013


EDITOR’S NOTE: After KAIROS #1 at Okaloosa C. I. a few months ago, which Charlie volunteered to work, a follow-up meeting is held on the third Saturday of each month in the prison chapel. The KAIROS  brothers, Christian volunteers from the local church community, return for a couple of hours of fellowship and talks. Unlike many national prison ministries that put on programs in prisons, then leave with no continuing presence, the KAIROS  ministry has been successful, in part, because it encourages the men to participate in weekly prayer and sharing groups among themselves, and the monthly meetings with the outside volunteers. Once called Ultreyas, from its roots in the Spanish Cursillo movement, these meetings are now called reunions.

At each reunion, a couple of prisoners are asked to speak about their Fourth Day Walk. At the November gathering, Charlie was asked to speak. Following is a report filed by Charlie on his talk.

“Good morning. My name is Charlie Norman. I attended KAIROS number nine in May, 1982, at Union Correctional Institution and sat at the table of St. James. I’m glad to be here with you. I’d rather be here than in the best cancer hospital in the nation.”


“The KAIROS program lasts over a three-day weekend. When you go through KAIROS they tell you that the next day is the Fourth Day, when you return to the world, the prison world, and that Fourth Day “Walk” doesn’t last for just one day, but continues on through your walk with Christ by your side. Little did I know how long my Fourth Day Walk in prison would last.”

“Ten days ago I celebrated an anniversary of sorts. On November 6, 2013, I completed serving thirteen thousand days in prison. According to the Microsoft program I’ve been using in the computer class, those thirteen thousand days translate to thirty-five point five-seven years. A lifetime. I’ve worn out many pairs of shoes on this long walk.


“The KAIROS  program I attended over thirty-one years ago was a lot different than it is today. Those were the early days of KAIROS, the only program was at Raiford, and the “Nine Old Men,” the founders of KAIROS, attended each one. Most all of those good men are gone now, except for one, I think, and over time, as it expanded into prisons in many states and other countries, KAIROS changed. But one thing has not changed, and that is the love of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the same today as He was yesterday, and He’ll be the same tomorrow.”

“At our table we were asked to discuss how each of us could better serve Christ in our environment, in prison, and we had a good talk. We talked about something that others say to us, I thought you were a Christian. Has anyone else ever heard this?”

(Laughter and applause)

“I admit that I once said those words. Before I went to KAIROS, I was an angry man. Crooked prosecutors had threatened me with the death penalty, and I said, ‘Bring it on.’ I was in a terrible prison with a fresh life sentence, and had a bad attitude.”

“There was a prison guard called Trooper, who was one of those hard-core Christians. Trooper carried those little ‘tracts’ around with him, and he would accost both prisoners and guards when he was on the yard.”

(Stepping from the podium and leaning down toward a retired military officer, in an insistent voice):

“Are you a Christian? Have you been washed in the blood of the Lamb? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior? If you die today are you going to Heaven or Hell?”


“You get the picture. One day Trooper was talking to several of us on the yard, guys were snickering at him, making fun, and one prisoner said, ‘Trooper, how can you call yourself a Christian, and stand in that gun tower with a shotgun, ready to blast someone? Didn’t your God say ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill?’


“And Trooper answered, ‘You know, I told the colonel the same thing. Why do you put me in that gun tower? I can’t shoot anybody!’

(More laughter)

“You can imagine what happened. Two prisoners off to the side heard what Trooper said, and went, ‘Hmmm.’ They began planning, and a couple weeks later, when Trooper was up in the gun tower, they hit the first fence. Trooper yelled, ‘Stop!’ but they kept climbing. They hit the second fence, and we heard the ‘CLACK-CLACK’ as Trooper chambered a round in that pump shotgun, followed by a BOOM-BOOM! Trooper shot both of them. He didn’t kill them — they lived.”

“A few weeks later, Trooper was back on the yard, passing out religious booklets, tracts, and approaching prisoners with his spiel. He walked up to a group I was standing in, and I asked him, ‘Trooper, I thought you were a Christian. What does God say about those two men you shot?’

“Trooper thought for a moment, and said, ‘I am a Christian. But God doesn’t want me to lose my job!’

(Much more laughter)

“That’s how one man felt led to serve Christ in that environment. We live in a far different environment. Most of us live in the re-entry dorm, where many men are Christians who don’t have a whole lot of time left on their sentences. The living conditions are better, compared to other dorms, because a majority of men are trying to do right, to get ready for freedom.”

“The Bible says Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and the shepherd knows his sheep. And the sheep know their shepherd. We are the sheep, but intermingled with the sheep are wolves in sheep’s clothing, wolves who pretend to be sheep, on the surface, who look to take advantage of a good situation, but actually are there to prey on what they perceive as weak sheep. But that’s not necessarily true. Those weak ones, the ones you call sheep, are actually ewes, the females. How many people — not you city guys — how many have actually been around a flock of sheep? Let’s have a show of hands.”

(A scattering of hands are raised)

“The females, the ewes, the ones who need protection, are what people commonly think of as sheep, frightened, manipulated, easily led. But they don’t think about the males, the strong ones, the rams, who are also sheep. Have you ever seen a ram up close, with the big curving horns, and the hard heads? Those bad boys are tough! Grandma said don’t butt heads with a billy goat, and the same holds true with rams. When the flock is threatened, the rams gather up and protect the sheep. They’ll knock a wolf for a loop. We’ve all seen the St. Louis Rams football team. Nobody calls them the wimps. Jesus was not a softie. He was a tough guy. He had to be. He stood up to the Romans. And you can be a member of Jesus’ flock and be strong, too. I am a ram. Nobody calls me weak. And you are rams, too. You worship God in your own way, be God’s man in prison, and no one will say, I thought you were a Christian! They will know you are a Christian. Thank you and God bless.”



I rejoined my table after speaking to the group, feeling pumped up from the positive response. Three other prisoners and a clean-cut young man named Mike greeted me. I’d met Mike for the first time only an hour or so before, introducing himself as active-duty military, in the U. S. Navy. This area of Northwest Florida has a number of bases, including Eglin Air Force Base and the Pensacola Naval Air Station. Mike told me that he had been inspired by what I’d said, and I was touched by his sincerity. It takes a special person to give up their Saturday and come into a state prison to share their beliefs with a bunch like us. One of the other prisoners at our table had been in the Navy, and shared some of his experiences. I asked Mike what he did in the service, and he said, “I’m an F-18 pilot,” which impressed me even more. If I could inspire an F-18 Fighter pilot, perhaps I am doing the right thing.

Below is a photo of KAIROS  #49 at Tomoka C.I., Daytona Beach, Florida, on April 16, 2004. I am kneeling, wearing sunglasses, by the “theme poster” I painted for that occasion, along with prisoners and “KAIROS  brothers” who participated in that program. Over the years I painted over a hundred posters for KAIROS programs in Florida, several other states, and even a few foreign countries, along with “outside” weekend programs put on by Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist, and other churches. Several men in this photo have achieved their freedom and lead successful lives in society. I yearn to join them. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013


Have you heard about the comet that may be visible to the naked eye this month, Comet Ison? The comet is plunging toward the sun, and not even professional astronomers really know how bright Comet Ison will get.
If you can get outside an hour before sunrise on November 18th and look toward the horizon to the southeast, you may see the comet, aimed toward the sun. Mars, the Red Planet, will be higher in the southeastern sky. Mercury will be bright, barely above the horizon, before sunrise.

As darkness falls this month, Venus is bright in the southwestern sky, fairly low, to the left of the sunset. As November progresses, Venus climbs higher in the evening sky, impossible to miss if the sky is clear. Full moon comes November  17th. The traditional full moon name for November is the “Beaver Moon”. It is also called the “Frosty Moon” or “Snow Moon”. This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.  (from Farmers Almanac).

I won’t be able to see these celestial sights from my cage, but perhaps you will. Let me know.

In our modern age, it seems that most people have lost touch with the natural world, and rarely look at the night sky. When the night sky is denied you, it becomes more precious.


Saturday, October 26, 2013


The above photo documents the visit of my mother, Lucille Norman, and her friend, Phil Plummer, visiting with me at Okaloosa C. I. on Saturday, October 19, 2013, after a 420-mile drive from Tampa.

I would like to contrast this photo with one taken at visit in 1980 (below), over thirty-three years ago. In this photo taken at the Union C.I. (Raiford, FL) visiting park, my brother, Dan, my mother and father, Eugene Norman, came to see me early in my imprisonment. I was thirty years old at that time. I am sixty-four now. Time has taken its toll on all of us. My father lasted five more years, passing away in 1985 after a long, lingering illness.

For thirty-five years my mother has devotedly made her way to visit with me, from my almost two years in the dungeon-like old Hillsborough County jail awaiting trial for a murder I did not commit to a succession of eighteen state prisons from one end of Florida to the other, to this present far-flung outpost within spitting distance of Alabama.

Despite the long costly drive, the three of us had an enjoyable time, talking and sharing a meal from the prison canteen. My mother has a remarkable memory, and each time we get together I ask her questions of family history. This time was no exception, and she told me a fascinating story about my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Albert’s family, his father, Mr. Thornhill, and “Buck Henry,” which I will write about in a later memoir.

When one goes to prison, his loved ones go to prison with him, suffering what many consider a fate worse than death, living in limbo in a purgatory not of their making, grieving for the loss of someone caught between life and death. And so it goes with my loved ones, and particularly Mama.

For two years my father was dying, and as hard as it was for all of us to deal with, we knew it was coming and reconciled his passing. But for me, serving a “life sentence” that should have ended ten years ago, except for the objection and obstruction by corrupt prosecutor, Mark Ober, the subsequent possible “end” in 2017, we are faced with the question of how much longer either of us will live. Will I survive this wrongful imprisonment, survive this life sentence, and be able to help my mother, who grows increasingly frail with her advancing age? Or will we both give out?

It is a sobering reality to see one’s loved ones age before your eyes, and feel great responsibility for contributing to that aging. Will this visit be the last time? Or will we be reunited in freedom? Only God can answer those questions.

Mama cried when we embraced at the end of our too-short visit. It broke my heart, and I had a hard time not crying, too. Our visit is a joy and a sadness.

I am grateful for Phil Plummer’s making our visit possible by driving my mother the long trek from and to her home. He is a good man and good friend, and my mother is blessed to have him in her life. Daily I pray that this travesty of justice end soon, and I will be able to return home.