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Chapter no 57

Spare

THOUGH EXHAUSTED, though a bit lonely, I felt radiant. I was in the shape of my li was thinking and seeing more clearly than ever before. The feeling was not unlike that described by people who enter monastic orders. Everything felt lit

up.

As with monks, each cadet had his own cell. It had to be pristine at all times.

Our small beds had to be made—tight. Our black boots had to be bulled—shiny as wet paint. Our cell doors had to be propped open—always. Even though you could close the door at night, color sergeants could—and often did—walk in at any time.

Some cadets complained bitterly. No privacy!

That made me laugh. Privacy? What’s that?

At the end of each day I’d sit in my cell, bulling my boots, spitting on them, rubbing them, making them mirrors in which I could see my shorn head. No matter what institution I landed in, it seemed, a tragically bad haircut was the first order of business. Then I’d text Chels. (I was allowed to keep my mobile, for security reasons.) I might tell her how things were going, tell her I missed her. Then I’d loan my phone to any other cadets who might want to text their girlfriends or boyfriends.

Then it was lights-out.

No problem. I was no longer remotely afraid of the dark.

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