Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
Subscribe and Save up to 45%
Michelle Cacho-Negrete lives in Portland, Maine, where she works with writing students online and in person. Her essay “Stealing” appeared in the anthology Best of the Net 2011.
Forty dollars a week, my mother’s salary before taxes in 1954, could barely feed my brother and me. For sixty-seven cents, however, she could buy a box of fertilizer that would nourish her plants all summer.
The heat that summer was a living thing that tangled around you, tripping you, slowing you to a crawl. New York City was draped in an impressionist haze. It was 1957. I was thirteen and had my first job, stapling tags onto winter clothes in the warehouse of a department store.
The Sun doesn’t usually report on current events, but September’s terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. marked a turning point for all of us. We put out a call to our writers, inviting them to reflect on the tragedy and its aftermath. The response was overwhelming. As word got around, we received submissions not only from regular contributors but from writers who are new to The Sun’s pages.
Half of each weekly session is devoted to charting one man’s abusive acts on the night of his arrest. We write them out on the blackboard, step by step. . . . Whatever we hear at chartings is only part of the story. Men minimize their actions and inflate hers in an effort to prove that she was responsible. We ferret out the truth and examine inconsistencies until a man’s story finally unravels like a hem with faulty stitching.