Those who dislike speculation about past and future can usually see an end to the situation which has induced such relative breaks in the normal scheduling of life; they can consider plans for when they get out of hospital, or prison, or home on holiday. There are still bills to be paid, visits to relations to be arranged, home coming parties to be organised during those times when one is absent from the normal run of life. The ordinary temporal scheduling of one’s affairs is kept in the background of one’s mind by the continued operation of such financial, domestic and social matters. When twenty years of one’s time is taken away, even these routine matters disappear. The landscape of time, the past and the future, and the actual significance of the present moment insistently occupy the mind. The prisoners in E-Wing found Victor Serge’s description of this obsessive state the most accurate.
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