To cross the wire is death

Abhishek Paul
2 min readMay 5, 2021

Note: Part of the 5 week writing challenge by Ruth. This is prompt 1 (image below).

The image brought to mind one of the coolest movie scenes and characters. He was a prisoner, someone who tried to escape multiple times yet invariably ends up back in the same cell.What’s more, he gets thrown into isolation for his efforts. Yet through it all he doesn’t lose his …….I don’t even know what to call it. The best I can describe it is that it’s a kind of belief that borders on delusion/insanity but in a cheerful/optimistic way. Something that lifts people and gives them hope that maybe they too can achieve the impossible, not one that pushes them down. Watching the story unfold in my younger days, I never could enjoy it fully because I believed he was doomed to fail — he was going to end right back at the same prison. This was no Shawshank Redemption. It was all so pointless.

Now, I see it a little differently. I also wonder whether he knew it was a doomed enterprise right from the beginning and still went in giving it his all, right till the end. There is this moment with him on his bike riding along the long barbed fence at the border, looking frantically for a place to jump over. He has the soldiers chasing him, he pauses, takes a look behind, knows in his mind that the likelihood of his clearing the fence was slim to none. So what does he do, he licks his lips, smiles to himself and takes off for one daring (maybe foolhardy) effort.

Spoiler alert, he doesn’t clear the fence. Well, actually he does clear one, but ends up tangled in the barbed wire and he’s taken back to prison to his isolation cell. He goes with his captors without a fuss. They both know it’s only a matter of time before he tries breaking out again. So he picks up his glove and his ball and starts bouncing them off the wall. The smile comes back.

It’s not necessarily about which side of the fence I’m on.

PS: In case you haven’t seen the movie. Here’s the clip. The title of the blog is a line from the same movie.

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