Over a decade ago, while incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown (Ohio’s “Supermax”), I watched the film Antwone Fisher. This inspirational biopic about Cleveland native Antwone Fisher, starring Denzel Washington, Joy Bryant, and Derrick Luke as Fisher, instantly became my all-time favorite movie. I was awed by the story of Fisher’s relentless determination to overcome the harrowing circumstances facing a child raised in an abusive foster home. As a native of Cleveland myself, and as a resident of the same boys’ reform school in Pennsylvania where Fisher was sent, I felt as if I was watching a movie about my own life.
Many parts of Antwone Fisher moved me, but my favorites were those scenes in which Fisher courted the woman he loved–Cheryl, played by Joy Bryant. If a person’s heart could smile, mine would have done it when Fisher recognized in the middle of a date with Cheryl some words he first heard when he was practicing for their date. His male mentor had prepared him well by bravely playing the role of Cheryl to help Fisher overcome his inexperience with women!
As a 42-year-old man, incarcerated for nearly 24 consecutive years, I long to know an understanding and supportive woman like Cheryl in Antwone Fisher. Although Ohio’s corrupt parole board won’t free me from my excessive imprisonment, if I were to become acquainted with a woman like Cheryl, I would be freed from the imprisonment of my loneliness, just as Fisher was when he met Cheryl.
As each day passes, my enduring pursuit of companionship grows stronger and stronger. The pain of loneliness fuels my willpower and drives me to keep striving for what I seek from life. It drives me to work on my writing projects in the early morning, even when I have a headache and long to rest. It drives me to assail the darkness of injustice until the light of justice shines through. And it drives me to remain patient until the woman of my dreams comes into my life, as I know she will in due time. And when she does, if I’m lucky, she might even have the same beautiful dimples as Cheryl.
Download a PDF copy of Longing for Companionship With a Woman Like Cheryl.