In this chapter, Shaka gets a second parole hearing. This one goes a lot better than the last one. The interviewer seems fair and is genuinely interested in Shaka's story, and she's clearly impressed.
She even says she's never encountered another inmate who's so prepared for life after incarceration. (24.8)
But Shaka still gets denied parole when the final decision is made by the board.
Because of the positive parole interview, Shaka and Ebony had started planning for his life outside of prison.
But when Shaka gets the bad news about the board decision, he feels like it's not fair to Ebony to keep her waiting on his release.
So he plans to break up with her and let her go on with her life.
Shaka comes to a sense of peace that breaking up is the right thing to do, but when he actually sees Ebony he falls apart crying as he breaks up with her. He also tells her he's not planning to apply for parole again.
Basically, it feels like a game he can't win, so he's planning to quit.
Ebony refuses to break up, and she refuses to let Shaka quit applying for parole. She says, "We are in it to win it. I will never give up on you. Giving up is not an option, Shaka."(24.25)
Shaka loves Ebony's passionate response, and it reminds him why he fell in love with her in the first place.
Ebony gives Shaka a world class pep talk about everything they've already accomplished together and all the obstacles he conquered even before meeting her. Shaka says, "By the time she had finished, I felt as if I could pick up the prison with one hand." (24.27)
After that, Shaka feels completely confident about the relationship. And he realizes he can keep going on his quest for parole. They start planning the next things to do.