Twenty Minutes

A.B. Dodge
3 min readApr 5, 2022

A mindful mind’s tale

Photo by FORREST CAVALE on Unsplash

Ryan got pushed into the van that sat outside Green Mountains Penitentiary. They hadn’t been rude this time, he thought. It was a slight, almost like a “friendly” push. Still a push, but who cares.

Ryan sat across from two older men who he had never met. They were probably from another sector of the prison. They didn’t make eye contact. So Ryan just sat and stared out the window.

Mr. Scott, the prison warden, showed up and gave one last look inside the van. He wanted to make sure the young correctional officer had tied the inmates safely and securely. He nodded at Ryan, and he nodded back. He wasn’t going to miss this old place, but he would miss Mr. Scott and some of the other guards. They had been nice to him, at least. Ryan wasn’t like the others, he’d heard them say. He was chill and polite, and he spent most of his time at the library and out of trouble.

The Green Mountains Penitentiary was a brutal place to be, and although Ryan’s crime hadn’t been a rookie’s crime, he had been placed there for some reason. But everyone in the prison knew that was no place for Ryan.

When a new prison had been opened nearby, Ryan asked if he could be transferred. They had a good machinery program, and Ryan had intentions of doing that after leaving prison. Mr. Scott said he would put on a note, but he wasn’t the one making decisions. One month later Ryan got the call that he would be one of the first ones to be transferred.

“How long till we get there?” he asked Mr. Scott.

“Not more than twenty minutes,” he replied, fixing his mustache. The warden took another peek in the van and mumbled, “Later, guys.”

“Later,” they all said at the same time. They definitely hope they wouldn’t see him again, although Mr. Scott had been nice after all.

Ryan leaned against the window and watched outside as the van moved, leaving the old penitentiary behind. He noticed how the gravel popped and made noises below the tires. He noticed how soon nature came back to life on those country roads.

Twenty minutes, he thought. That’s all I have to see the world.

Ryan had made one big mistake in his life, and that had cost him fifteen years. He accepted his fate and started meditating on his actions. He’d spent five years at the Green Mountains, and there were ten more to go, maybe eight for his good behavior.

In short, he had twenty minutes to enjoy the sun. The mountain view. The wildflowers and daffodils could easily be spotted on the side of the road on that spring afternoon. The wild animals crossed the roads without getting hit a few times. The sounds of the birds could still be heard in spite of the heavy-duty glass window.

During that short road trip, Ryan didn’t regret his past. He didn’t think of the future. He didn’t think of what he was going to do after he left prison.

During that short road trip, Ryan just stared out the window and enjoyed his twenty minutes. That was enough for him.

A.B. Dodge

English Teacher, Meditation Enthusiast, Writer, Lover of Inspiring Stories and Flashfiction. Visit her blog at