Walk Softly With Your Eyes Open (Caleb)

Caleb is now in the North Fraser Pretrial Centre
awaiting an appearance in court.

I was arrested three weeks ago in the municipality of Oak Bay in Victoria, B.C., my hometown. The arrest itself was pretty run of the mill, as far as arrests go.

I was riding a bicycle down Foul Bay Road at around 6 am on a Thursday morning. I had been on the run for around two months and I was getting tired of it, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

The police drove past me, and I knew right away they’d jack me up. I could say it was because I was the only native guy around Oak Bay at 6 am but, even though that was true, by then I had been living dishonestly for so long that everyone I encountered knew, on a cellular level, that I was not to be trusted.

So when the police hit their lights and wanted me to pull over, I do what I’ve been trained to do. I ran.

It was an OK run. I sprinted on the bike. They sped in front of me and tried to bump me off the bike. As a seasoned pro when it comes to chases, I manoeuvred around them. I knew the area well, so it didn’t take me long to gain a good kilometre. But I didn’t have the drive to escape anymore.

I saw a cedar tree in which I thought I could hide, but it turned out to be a pitiful spot, well beneath what I normally would have chosen.

If I had a stronger mind set, I never would have tried to hide from the police. I’ve run and gotten away enough times to know that if you are going to run you had better commit to keep running because they will not stop. The only way to successfully evade them is to run faster and farther than them.

But I wasn’t there. I was already here.

I ducked into a backyard and hid my bike. It was about ten minutes after six o’clock now and full daybreak. The owner of the property came outside as he heard me on his property.

“Get the hell off my property,” he said.

The police were driving by, and he flagged them down, yelling “He’s over here! He’s over here!

I had pretty much painted myself into a figurative corner, but I tried. There was a police SUV to my right and a path to my left so I chose the path less travelled. I ran. As soon as I made my run, another SUV screeched to a halt directly in front of me. By now the response was instinctual. Get away!

I drove my bike straight towards the poor cop and tried this odd manoeuvre which I probably could have pulled it off if I hadn’t been malnourished, dehydrated and full of opiates. Or perhaps not. I tried to jump off my bike while it was moving toward the officer and launch myself in the opposite direction, hoping to hit the ground running. However, this was not a movie scene. The cop easily evaded the flying Norco and tackled me. I almost chose to fight, but I was smart enough to know there is a big difference between running from the police and fighting with the police, so I simply went limp.

I had been running around that night without the cast I had been fitted with at the hospital. My broken hand was broke again during that chase and the subsequent arrest.

The police were cordial to me. I saw no reason not to tell them who I was and why I ran.

“My name is Caleb Howard. I ran because I have warrants for my arrest. I’m sorry.”

In my head, I thought, “You fuckin’ idiot. You know you are never going to get back together with her now, don’t you? Why do you always make the wrong choice?”

But that was then.

Now I feel OK about things. I’m healthy, and I know that the medicine path is here in front of me. All I have to do is  to take the steps. To remember, as Frank told me, “My son, walk softly with your eyes open. You will be OK.”

And to remember what some beautiful random lady told me after she bought me several drinks and used my presence to make her boyfriend jealous.

“You have to stop focusing on what you want. Instead, try focusing on the things in your life that you don’t want and how you can get them out of your life. The good things will come into your life no matter what. Because you deserve them.”


Photo by Asya Vee on Unsplash

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