In Oz, time is the heaviest burden, heavier even than your guilt. More than just a penalty for your transgressions, it serves as the ultimate judgment call; the final measure of your net worth as a person. You sit in that courtroom and wait for that number to tell you just how bad you are, how irredeemable you are, how many years of your life you deserve to have stripped from you because of the things you’ve done. And from the moment the bars clang shut behind you, time stretches out like a bleak, relentless horizon; it exists only to drive you insane, reminding you with every minute that passes of everything you no longer deserve.
But when Chris reaches for me, the connection between us flaring to life as easily as it always has, I realize that time has become something more. It is now an aggressive enemy, poised to strike and destroy. It prowls around inside my head, demanding attention, forcing me to acknowledge how much of it we’ve lost, how much we’ve wasted… and, inevitably, how much we have left.
His hands flex against my hips, clutching me tight, and I know he is feeling it too.
On the bed in my pod, waiting for me to pack up for the ride home, are farewell presents: from Sister Pete, from Said. But this, these last few moments with Chris, is the most precious gift I’ve been given. Twenty uninterrupted minutes is more than he and I have ever been granted in Oz, even when we shared a pod, and Chris sucks my cock with something close to religious conviction; knowing, just as I do, that this will probably be the last time.
“This isn’t over,” he says, as I lay gasping. “We’re not done, Toby.”
Tomorrow morning, I will leave Oz feeling unsure about many, many things, but utterly certain of one - no one will ever love me the way Chris does, the way Chris has. I will walk out of Oz knowing this. It won’t be long now. Time is ticking.
But Chris shifts under my hands, those warm lips moving against my own, and I force the thought aside. In a cage full of hundreds of bored, restless men whose lives drift by at an interminably sluggish pace, Chris and I are unique.
We have so little time.